Many mind-body movement professionals have encountered clients who have experienced a strong emotional release after holding an extended stretch or after moving the spine through forward, backward and/ or side-bending movements. Some people think these responses are related to fascia, the layer of tissue surrounding muscles, muscle groups, blood vessels and nerves.
Interest in the role of the myofascial system has been rising. Current theories regarding how memories may be stored in fascia—and can later be released—were recently discussed in an editorial in the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies (2014; 18 , 259–65).
Proposed theories include the following:
- Neurofascial memory. Since fascia is well innervated, irritation or injury can trigger tissue remodeling, inflammation and nervous-system sensitization that can evolve into persistent pain in local tissue.
- Fascial memory. Collagen deposited along lines of tension in connective tissue may create a “tensional memory” in the physical fascial structure. Certain chemical substances that are released, particularly after emotional trauma, may alter the collagen structure into a specific shape known as an “emotional scar.”
- Extracellular matrix and tissue memory. This tissue remodeling seems to occur not only in the collagen network but also in elastin fibers and other cells throughout the connective tissues, creating a more durable and long-lasting “memory.”
The editorial author is particularly interested in the role of manual therapy in releasing various types of memories. This is where a good massage therapist who understands how to hold space is so important!
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "God's Wisdom or the Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". So Reiki is actually "spiritually guided life force energy."
A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Many have reported miraculous results.
Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.
An amazingly simple technique to learn, the ability to use Reiki is not taught in the usual sense, but is transferred to the student during a Reiki class. This ability is passed on during an "attunement" given by a Reiki master and allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of "life force energy" to improve one's health and enhance the quality of life.
Its use is not dependent on one's intellectual capacity or spiritual development and therefore is available to everyone. It has been successfully taught to thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds.
While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki. In fact, Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not. Because Reiki comes from God, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.
While Reiki is not a religion, it is still important to live and act in a way that promotes harmony with others. Mikao Usui, the founder of the Reiki system of natural healing, recommended that one practice certain simple ethical ideals to promote peace and harmony, which are nearly universal across all cultures.
During a meditation several years after developing Reiki, Mikao Usui decided to add the Reiki Ideals to the practice of Reiki. The Ideals came in part from the five prinicples of the Meiji emperor of Japan whom Mikao Usui admired. The Ideals were developed to add spiritual balance to Usui Reiki. Their purpose is to help people realize that healing the spirit by consciously deciding to improve oneself is a necessary part of the Reiki healing experience. In order for the Reiki healing energies to have lasting results, the client must accept responsibility for her or his healing and take an active part in it. Therefore, the Usui system of Reiki is more than the use of the Reiki energy. It must also include an active commitment to improve oneself in order for it to be a complete system. The ideals are both guidelines for living a gracious life and virtues worthy of practice for their inherent value.
The secret art of inviting happiness
The miraculous medicine of all diseases
Just for today, do not anger
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude
Devote yourself to your work. Be kind to people.
Every morning and evening, join your hands in prayer.
Pray these words to your heart
and chant these words with your mouth
Usui Reiki Treatment for the improvement of body and mind
The founder , Usui Mikao
Reiki classes are taught all over the country and in many parts of the world.
--International Center for Reiki Training
Please note that I am now offering Reiki session in addition to massage. Please ask about special introductory rates!
Before you make your next important decision, consider enjoying 15 minutes of mindful meditation. People who take such a break are more likely to make smarter choices, according to a study reported inPsychological Science (2014; doi: 10.1177/0956797613503853). “We found that a brief period of mindfulness meditation can encourage people to make more rational decisions by considering the information available in the present moment, while ignoring some of the other concerns that typically exacerbate the ‘sunk cost bias,’” said lead study author Andrew C. Hafenbrack, doctoral candidate at INSEAD, an international graduate business school, in an Association for Science news release.
Sunk cost bias is the tendency to continue to do a behavior based on an initial decision, even when the behavior is not leading to the desired result. "Most people have trouble admitting when they were wrong," said Hafenbrack. "They don't want to feel wasteful or that their initial investment was a loss. Ironically, this kind of thinking often causes people to waste or lose more resources in an attempt to regain their initial investment or try to break even.”
“The debiasing effect of mindfulness meditation in sunk-cost situations was due to a two-step process,” said another study author, Zoe Kinias. “First, meditation reduced how much people focused on the past and future, and this psychological shift led to less negative emotion. The reduced negative emotion then facilitated their ability to let go of sunk costs."
-- by Shirley Archer
Massage therapy is often considered a panacea to minimize or eliminate exercise-related aches, pain and soreness. But is there any truth to these claims?
To answer that question, researchers the University of Illinois at Chicago recruited 36 sedentary young adults who were separated into three groups: exertion-induced muscle injury and massage therapy; exertion-induced muscle injury-only; and massage therapy-only. The individuals in the first two groups were directed to perform a bilateral leg press exercise until soreness was achieved. The exertion-induced injury plus massage group received an immediate post-exercise 30-minute massage on the affected leg. Each participant then rated level of soreness from one to 10, and underwent blood flow measures at 90 minutes, 24, 48 and 72 hours post-exercise.
According to the data, both massage groups experienced increased blood flow throughout the intervention. The non-massage group saw reduced blood flow at 90 minutes, 24 and 48 hours; blood flow was normalized at 72 hours. The exercise plus massage group reported no continued soreness after 90 minutes, whereas the exercise-only group’s soreness lasted 24 hours.
“Our results suggest that massage therapy attenuates impairment of upper extremity endothelial function resulting from lower extremity exertion-induced muscle injury in sedentary young adults,” conclude the researchers.
The study is published in <I>Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation<I> (2014; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2014.02.007).
If you had to choose, would you rather have a client spend 10 minutes more exercising or 10 minutes more preparing food each day?
A study by researchers at The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health suggests that because of the way Americans allot their time, the two may be mutually exclusive. The study found that a 10-minute increase in food preparation time was associated with a lower probability of exercising for 10 more minutes—among both men and women. The finding applied to single and married adults as well as parents and those with no children.
Researchers analyzed nationally available data on more than 112,000 American adults who had reported their activities for the previous 24 hours.
- Sixteen percent of men and 12% of women reported exercising on the previous day.
- On average, men spent almost 17 minutes preparing food, women about 44 minutes.
- For the entire sample of adults, including those who did not exercise, the average time spent exercising was 19 minutes for men and 9 minutes for women.
- In conclusion, the average respondent, male or female, spent less than an hour on both exercise and food preparation on the same day.
By inserting the data into statistical models, the researchers determined that there is a “substitution effect” for American adults who participate in these two time-consuming health behaviors on the same day.
“As the amount of time men and women spend on food preparation increases, the likelihood that those same people will exercise more decreases,” said Rachel Tumin, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in epidemiology at OSU. “The data suggest that one behavior substitutes for the other.
“There’s only so much time in a day. As people try to meet their health goals, there’s a possibility that spending time on one healthy behavior is going to come at the expense of the other,” she said. “I think this highlights the need to always consider the trade-off between ideal and feasible time use for positive health behaviors.”
-- Sandy Todd Webster
These days, when many chefs are sourcing locally and seasonally, and abiding by sustainable practices, they may believe they are cooking healthy meals, says Emmanuel Verstraeten, founder and CEO of SPE Certified® (see related item). “While [sustainability] is an appropriate first step, it is not sufficient to close the loop on delivering nutritionally balanced, great-tasting dishes. What is missing is a culinary approach to nutrition whereby dishes are created to deliver the maximum in nutrient density, while retaining every ounce of deliciousness and taste. This is the piece of the puzzle that SPE Certified so uniquely provides,” he says.
Rather than “demonizing” ingredients such as butter, cream and sugar, SPE Certified challenges chefs to work differently. In fact, the SPE Certified charter doesn’t limit chefs with regard to ingredients; it simply guides them to use certain components in moderation. Bottom line, says Verstraeten, “Our goal is not to eliminate the status quo, but to provide guests with a sustainable, healthy and nutritionally balanced alternative. It’s all about increasing the options available when dining out.” See how SPE Certified’s executive chef Anthony Moraes uses the SPE Certified tenets to build flavor while maintaining health in this month’s recipe.
- 1 1⁄2 C kale, destemmed, tightly packed
- 3⁄4 C walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1⁄2 T lemon juice
- 1⁄2 C Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1⁄3 C olive oil
Recipe key: C = cup; t = teaspoon; T = tablespoon
Blanch kale in boiling, salted water for 30 seconds. Toast walnuts and garlic at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes. Add kale, walnuts, lemon juice, cheese and 1 T oil to blender; pulse, then blend at high speed. Makes 12 servings. Drizzle remaining olive oil while blending and add salt.
Per serving: 120 calories; 3 g protein; 2 g carbohydrates; 12 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 95 g sodium.
Source: Anthony Moraes, executive chef, SPE Certified
Does drinking alcohol help your health or is it better to just say no? For some people the benefits outweigh the risks; for others the risks are far greater than the potential benefits.
So, who exactly is a candidate for safe, moderate drinking, and who is not? To find out, read information below from Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LD, president of LivingWell Communications, a Chicago-based nutrition consulting practice, which focuses on the importance of proper diet to overall health and well-being.
“Prolonged (heavy) consumption [of alcohol] can lead to cellular changes in the liver, heart, brain and muscles and result in cirrhosis, pancreatitis, irregular heart beats, stroke and malnutrition,” explains Nancy Clark, MS, RD, author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (Human Kinetics 2003). Clark notes that even moderate drinkers have a higher risk of oral cancer, and women who drink may have a higher risk of breast cancer.
However, moderate drinking can also enhance health status, according to the scientific research. “There is convincing evidence that [consuming] one to two alcoholic drinks per day increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL, or the “good” cholesterol] by as much as 15%–20%,” according to Eric Rimm, MD, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. This, in turn, reduces narrowing of the arteries caused by plaque (atherosclerosis) and decreases the propensity for blood clotting, a common cause of heart attacks.
Another finding in the scientific research is that drinking alcohol in a moderate fashion may decrease death rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the lowest all-cause mortality rate occurs in people who ingest one to two drinks per day. Plus, the lowest coronary heart disease mortality rate also occurs at an intake of one to two drinks per day. However, there is another, darker side to the issue of drinking and death rates. The same research has shown that morbidity and mortality are highest among those who drink large amounts of alcohol.
Although the amount imbibed plays an important role in mortality rates, drinking patterns hold equal weight. “You can’t save up your drinks and use them all over the weekend,” warns Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. In other words, the benefits to mortality come from moderate, incremental alcohol consumption throughout the week, meaning only one to two servings per day, not four or five in one drunken sitting!
Over and over, nutrition experts and researchers reiterate the same message: Drink alcohol in moderation. But what exactly is considered moderate intake?
According to the latest U.S. government dietary guidelines, moderate alcohol intake is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men—ideally taken with meals.
The following amounts constitute a standard serving:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits
The alcohol content is approximately the same—0.6 ounces—for each standard serving.
Did you know that most people can survive no more than 7 days without water (Williams 2005)? Because of its numerous and diverse functions in the body, water is often regarded as the most important nutrient. Although there is rigorous proof of its benefits, scientists still have trouble objectively advising people how much they need to drink daily to maintain favorable health. Len Kravitz, PhD, program coordinator of exercise science and researcher at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, plunges in for a look at this mysterious nutrient called H2O.
Water is intricately involved in numerous functions of the body, including the transport of oxygen, nutrients and waste products into and out of the cells. Drinking water contains several electrolytes (substances in solution that conduct an electric current), including calcium, chloride, fluoride, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Water is necessary for all digestion and absorption functions, and it lubricates mucous membranes in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts.
Water is the medium for most chemical reactions in the body, especially those metabolic reactions involved in energy production. The body uses water as a coolant, helping to regulate body temperature during exercise, when fever is present and in hot environments. Water also serves as a cushioning component between joints, in the spinal cord and in the brain.
At different times in your life, you may need to pay special attention to water intake.
Older Adults. With age, thirst becomes a less effective indicator of the body’s fluid needs, so older adults who rely solely on thirst signals increase their risk of becoming dehydrated. Seniors who relocate to places where the weather is warmer or dryer are also more susceptible to dehydration.
Pregnant or Breast-Feeding Women. Expectant mothers and those who are breast-feeding need additional fluids daily to stay hydrated. Women at risk of gaining too much weight are encouraged to consume more water (no calories) and limit their consumption of sweetened fluids (with calories).
In an hour of light exercise in a cool or moderate environment, the small amount of water you sweat out is easy to quickly replace. However, endurance exercise is different. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently released its newest Position Stand on exercise and fluid replacement in an effort to guide exercisers toward safe and enjoyable participation in endurance exercise (Sawka et al. 2007). The stand says that each person will have different and variable water losses, so one blanket recommendation is not possible. However, it discusses the importance of hydrating before, during and after exercise. n
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Want to live a longer and better life? Increase your happiness! Contrary to old notions that happiness is shallow or naïve, there is a growing body of evidence that happiness is beneficial for morbidity (risk of illness), survival of illness and longevity (Diener & Chan 2011). Diener and Chan’s research review suggests that high subjective well-being may add 4–10 years of life compared with low subjective well-being (and the years will also be more enjoyable than they would have been for less happy people, the authors note!).
So how do you become happier? Mary Monroe, a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area, shares some insights from happiness experts.
“Exercise may well be the most effective instant happiness booster of all activities,” says researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want(Penguin 2007). A review of over 50 studies confirmed that there is sufficient evidence to show that even single sessions of activity can improve mood, and people who are more active are more likely to rate themselves and their mental well-being more positively (Fox 1999).
In addition to exercise, you need to take in good experiences to feel happier and more confident. This helps you defeat the brain’s negativity bias, which is like Velcro® for bad experiences but Teflon® for positive ones, notes Rick Hanson, PhD, in his book, Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time (New Harbinger 2011). Mental activity, such as meditation, can reshape the brain and help it focus on the positive.
You can also “trick” the brain to take in the good or to deeply savor positive experiences, says Hanson. He suggests that by holding positive experiences in awareness for 10, 20 or even 30 seconds, you can train your brain to remember them, helping to offset the natural inclination to forget the positive and remember the negative.
Are you in menopause? Then you’re probably familiar with the challenges that many menopausal women experience: hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, irritability and depression. These symptoms—alone or combined—can compromise a woman’s quality of life. Even worse, menopausal symptoms can create a domino effect. For example, night sweats can cause sleep problems that lead to chronic sleep deficits, which in turn may significantly affect mood, anxiety levels, alertness and mental acuity.
The good news is that exercise can help. Maria Luque, PhD, MS, CHES, an ACE-certified personal trainer and health sciences professor at Trident University International, explores how exercise impacts menopausal women.
Benefits of Exercise
It is widely accepted that physical activity yields health benefits and is an effective way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, anxiety and depression. Plus, there is compelling evidence that exercise can benefit middle-aged women by improving brain function, increasing functional capacities like muscular strength, and lessening anxiety and depression.
Research specifically done on menopausal women has found that
- moderate cardiovascular exercise decreased hot flashes 24 hours after exercise (Elavsky et al. 2012);
- regular moderate-intensity physical activity (60 minutes/day) had a favorable effect on menopause symptoms and quality of life (Coutinho de Azevedo Guimarães & Baptista 2011);
- resistance and aerobic exercise were found to have a positive impact on menopausal symptoms, psychological health, depression and quality of life (Ağıl et al. 2010); and
- women with healthy body mass index (height-to-weight ratio) scores reported lower levels of vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Data suggested a positive association among somatic/psychological dimensions, health-related quality of life and regular exercise (Daley et al. 2007).
Moderation Is the Key
Recent research results indicate that moderate—rather than vigorous—physical activity has the most positive effect on menopause symptoms and menopausal quality of life (MENQOL). One study revealed that women who participated in moderate-intensity physical activity reported higher MENQOL and a lower total number of symptoms than women who engaged in either low- or high-intensity physical activity (Luque 2011). Women with low physical activity levels reported the highest frequency of symptoms and the greatest discomfort.
Studies strongly suggest that program duration also plays a key role in the success of physical activity. For example, Coutinho de Azevedo Guimarães and Baptista (2011) concluded that exercise—specifically exercise with a predominantly cardiovascular component that lasted 6 months—was associated with higher quality of life in middle-aged women.
Although short-term exercise programs have been successful in reducing menopausal symptoms and improving overall health, most studies agree that long-term physical activity lasting at least 12 weeks appears to have the greatest effect on quality of life.
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