Archive for the ‘Massage’ Category

Reflexology … what’s it all about?

August 5, 2014

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Reflexology is massage of the feet or hands that aims to promote healing in other areas of the body. Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body. For example, on the left foot, the tip of the big toe corresponds to the brain’s left hemisphere.

Many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practised foot therapy as a form of healing. In the early 20th century, the Americans Dr William Fitzgerald and physiotherapist Eunice Ingham rediscovered and refined the techniques.

Reflex points

According to the philosophy of reflexology, all the organs, glands and parts of the body have representing reflexes on the feet. Any health problem in the body can usually be detected in the corresponding area of the foot. The left foot generally relates to any organs, glands etc on the left side of the body while the right foot relates to any organs, glands etc on the right side

Practitioners believe that by massaging or stimulating the reflexes using specific techniques there will be a direct effect on the corresponding organ.

A reflexologist may interpret foot marks or problems such as corns and calluses as an indication of a possible health imbalance in the corresponding area of the body.

A range of disorders

Supporters of reflexology believe that it can effectively treat a wide range of disorders including:

  • Stress
  • Circulation problems
  • Impaired immunity
  • Digestive disorders
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Reproductive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Lack of energy
  • Oedema (swelling)
  • Common childhood complaints such as colic, teething pain and bed-wetting
  • Emotional problems.

The procedure

A typical session lasts approximately one hour. The practitioner first asks detailed questions about lifestyle and prior and current medical problems. The patient sits or reclines on a couch with their feet bare, while the practitioner examines the feet before working on all the areas of the feet.

Generally speaking, the greater the degree of tenderness felt by the patient, the more likelihood there will be a possible imbalance in the corresponding area of the body. The practitioner relaxes the feet with gentle massage, and then works on the reflex points using specific techniques. Practitioners are well used to handling feet and apply sufficient pressure so that ticklishness should not be a problem! Reflexology is not meant to hurt, but should be felt. Strong pressure does not necessarily have a greater effect on the reflexes.

Medical evidence is still limited

Foot massage, including reflexology, encourages relaxation and improves circulation in the feet. However, clinical trials on the efficacy of reflexology as treatment for other health problems have produced mixed results. For example:

  • Premenstrual symptoms – in one study to assess reflexology as treatment for premenstrual symptoms, participants who received weekly therapy reported, on average, a reduction of symptoms by 62 per cent.
  • In another study, the benefits of reflexology were no different to the benefits of regular foot massage performed by people with no training in reflexology.

For further information regarding clinical trials and the efficiency of reflexology go to www.reflexology–research.com

General cautions

Treatment for foot problems such as corns, calluses, bunions and ingrown toenails are not in the scope of practise of a Reflexologist and should be treated by a podiatrist. In particular, people with diabetes are prone to serious foot problems and should be guided by their doctor about appropriate treatment. Reflexology can be an excellent therapy for people with diabetes, however if in doubt about your medical condition it is always recommended that you consult with your doctor before seeing a reflexologist.

Reflexologists do not diagnose, prescribe or treat specific conditions. If an imbalance was detected in a particular reflex during a treatment, the practitioner is likely to refer you to a doctor to get checked. Do not stop any medical treatments on the advice of your reflexologist.

Choosing a reflexologist

To find a reputable and qualified reflexologist in your area, contact the Reflexology Association of Australia. All professional practitioners have undergone extensive training, hold a current Level 2 first aid certificate, have professional indemnity insurance and can provide you with a professional receipt that you can use to claim back part of the treatment from participating private health insurance companies.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Reflexologist
  • Podiatrist
  • Reflexology Association of Australia Tel. 0500 502 250
  • Australian Podiatry Association (Vic) Tel. (03) 9866 5906

Things to remember

  • Reflexology is massage of the feet that aims to promote healing in other areas of the body.
  • Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body.
  • Always consult your doctor if you have a medical condition.

Article sourced from: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Reflexology

Ways to Boost Your Exercise Motivation

July 20, 2014

motivation

Debbe Geiger could summarize her feelings about exercise in two words. “It stinks,” she’d say.

But then her thinking changed when — after much urging from friends who wanted her to play with them — she joined a volleyball team. Now, she’s at the gym with a convert’s fervor on game nights because she doesn’t want to let her teammates down.

“There have been lots of reasons I could have missed, and I haven’t,” says Geiger of Cary, N.C.

Her experience illustrates what exercise experts have known for years: To stick with an exercise routine, you need a reason to carry on when that little voice inside says, “Sit on the couch. Have a doughnut.”

And just knowing that exercise is good for you doesn’t seem to be enough to get you moving.

 Carla Sottovia, assistant director of fitness at the Cooper Fitness Institute in Dallas, says, “You may have had a bad experience in school, or maybe you’re afraid you’ll hurt yourself. Maybe you’re even afraid to sweat.”

Intimidation is a factor also, experts say. When you’re out of shape, it takes courage to don workout duds and head for the gym.

If any of this sounds familiar, don’t give up hope. Here are fitness inspiration tips from fitness experts and exercise converts that are guaranteed to help you learn how to love moving.

 Be Realistic

First-time exercisers often set unrealistic goals that are too ambitious for beginners. Gerald Endress, fitness director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C. says, “They want to go for maximal goals, but they tend to get overwhelmed.”

So don’t start off trying to work out an hour every day. Instead, set more reasonable, achievable goals, like exercising 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a week.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Remember to chart your progress, whether it’s with a high-tech online tracker or an old-school fitness journal. Seeing incremental improvements, whether it’s improved time, increased reps, or greater frequency of workouts, can boost your exercise motivation.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Another pitfall is all-or-nothing thinking, a perfectionist way of looking at life that leads to giving up when you miss a day or two or your workout doesn’t go well. Endress says if you accept that there will be some sidesteps on your fitness journey, you’ll be better prepared mentally to deal with setbacks.

Expect that you’ll get sick from time to time, and be psychologically prepared to miss a few days of exercise when that happens. Don’t let it be an excuse for giving up. “From then on, many people say, ‘I can’t exercise,'” Endress says. “But there’s always a way to exercise.”

To keep injuries from sidelining you, do your best to prevent them by warming up, cooling down, stretching properly, and not doing too much too soon.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

 We’ve all seen those toned, fatless specimens who strut through the gym in their Barbie-sized shorts and sports bras.

Don’t compare yourself to them, Endress says. Forget about them. Forgive them. But do not let them deter you from your goal.

Get Support

Enlist the help of your spouse, girlfriends, boyfriends, buddies — anyone who will encourage you to stay on track.

“The person should be in support, but not say, ‘Why can’t you? It’s so easy,'” says Sottovia. If helpful reassurance turns into criticism, gently remind your pal that you don’t need nagging.

 If you need additional help, hire a trainer, she advises.

Find the Fun In It

Sottovia and Endress both say it’s essential to find an activity you like. With an explosion in the number and types of fitness classes at most gyms, it has become easier to find something to appeal to you, from aerobics to Zumba.

If you’re not the gym type, walk around your neighborhood or try activities around the house, such as walking up and down stairs or dancing with the stars in your living room. If you’re motivated by being social, follow Geiger’s lead and join a team.

Break It Up

You can make it easier on yourself by splitting your exercise session into two or three sessions, says Endress. Research supports the idea that this can be as beneficial as one long workout, he says.

So, for example, if you don’t feel like exercising for an hour on any given day, do three sessions of 20 minutes each.

Make It Convenient

Do whatever you can to remove obstacles to exercise, and make it as convenient as possible, says Sottovia.

If you are time-pressed, for example, don’t spend 30 minutes driving to a gym. Try exercising at home to fitness DVDs instead. If you’re too tired to work out at the end of the day, set your alarm a little earlier and exercise in the morning.

Forget the Past

Don’t let previous bad experiences with exercise hinder you, Sottovia says.

So maybe you weren’t the most athletic kid in high school and were the last chosen for class games. That was years ago. Your goal now is not to win a letter jacket or make the cheerleading squad — you want to exercise to stay healthy and enjoy your life.

Reward Yourself

Treat yourself for making the effort to exercise — not with food, but with something that you enjoy, like a movie or flowers, says Endress

Try to think of indulgences that will reinforce a mind-body connection so you can savor the rewards of your hard work. Plan a short trip, or just an hour in a botanical garden. Go to a ball game. And remind yourself with each precious moment that you are enjoying this time because of all the great things you have been doing for yourself.

 

Article sourced from: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-motivation

 

What’s So Super About Superfoods?

July 15, 2014

superfoods
You may have heard of superfoods. They’re foods that naturally concentrate important nutrients and antioxidants for overall health. In fact, many health professionals emphasize the necessity of superfoods for good health. Steven Pratt, M.D. is one of them. In his book SuperFoods RX:  Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, as well as his other books, he details why he thinks superfoods are so important. 

Pratt, an ophthalmologist who specializes in ocular plastic surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California, says he became convinced of the power of these basic foods when he saw the positive results of a few simple diet changes in his patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration—a leading cause of blindness.

“Whether you’re trying to prevent cataracts, macular degeneration, cancer, or cardiovascular disease, the same type of preventive dietary measures apply,” Pratt says. “The whole body is connected:  a healthy heart equals healthy eyes and healthy skin. You’ll hear about all these special diets for special health needs, but really, the same diet and the same lifestyle choices prevent the same diseases. With rare exceptions, you don’t need 20 different preventive modalities—just one really good diet.”

And that “one really good diet,” Pratt says, should be founded on superfoods, including blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, spinach, green or black tea, tomatoes, probiotic-rich yogurt and walnuts.

“For example,” says Pratt, “blueberries, broccoli and tomatoes have a large number of peer-reviewed published studies substantiating their health benefits. These foods are readily available, inexpensive and have other benefits, such as high fiber content. And they’ve been used for years, with no drawbacks, side effects or toxicity; you’re never going to see a headline that blueberries are bad for you.”

Broccoli, too, is a superfood star. It’s rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant linked with a reduced risk of a number of cancers. “The phytonutrients in broccoli help detoxify carcinogens found in the environment,” says Pratt. “They also have anti-inflammatory properties, and we know that an important factor in reducing the risk of disease is to support healthy inflammation levels.”

Likewise, Bonnie Minsky, a licensed and certified Nutrition Specialist, Public Health educator and certified menopause educator with a private practice in Northbrook, Illinois, outlines her top ten superfoods. Among the superfoods she indicates provide health benefits far beyond their recognized nutritional value are: pomegranates, cinnamon, avocados, algae, flaxseeds, turmeric and wild salmon.

And let’s not forget about coconuts. Coconuts are superfoods packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and ultra-healthy, medium-chain fatty acids.

Even typical holiday foods make the superfood list—so there’s no excuse to not eat them. For example, cranberries are full of antioxidants, including vitamin C and others. Likewise, sweet potatoes are high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese.

In short, superfoods can mean a super you!

 

Information sourced from http://www.gardenoflife.com/A-Way-of-Life/HEALTHY-LIFESTYLE/ContentPubID/662/settmid/3463.aspxsuperfoods

Why the Number on the Scale Doesn’t Matter

July 8, 2014

It can be easy for us to tie our sense of self-worth to a number, to our body.

This Number Doesn't MatterSure, our bodies are important, but we are spiritual beings inside a physical body. Without nurturing the spiritual piece of ourselves, the physical body will take precedence and our focus will be on the body and weight. This leads to thinking about how to change, control or obsess about our bodies and food.

At the root of any of this thinking is an emotional need that is not being met. By taking the focus off of the scale, off of food, and off of weight, you can begin to dig deeper within.

The reality is that the number on the scale has no significance.

It is about your mental and emotional sanity. The physical piece will fall into place once you have the awareness and understanding as to why you obsess and focus on food and weight.

Here are four reasons why it’s time to let go of the number on the scale and focus on the beauty you harness within:

1. You are more than a number.

It always amazes me how much power we can give a number. How we can give up all of our strength to something so insignificant. If you do this, you’re not alone.

Remember that you are respected and loved for who you are; for the inner love you harness within and the ability to be the person you were put here to be.

2. It’s an inside job.

The external world has the ability to take us out of the moment and bring us to a focus point outside of ourselves.

Yet, inside is what matters.

When we start looking within and allowing ourselves to feel what is coming up, we won’t look for external validation from things like the number on a scale.

The validation will come from within. We will learn to trust ourselves and take ownership and responsibility over our lives.

3. Focusing on weight takes you out of being present in your life.

Weight is an easy distraction for being present.

We can think if only I was skinnier, more fit or weighed less then my life would be better. When we rationally think about this, there really is no connection.

By staying present and taking each moment in, the need to focus on numbers and weight will start to diminish as we realize our true value and worth is much more than a number.

4. You deny others the beauty of getting to truly know you.

Focusing on our weight can make our world smaller and smaller.

Suddenly, we only care about ourselves and how to change the way we look. This takes us out of being there for our friends, family and co-workers. We deny these people the ability to truly get to know us. We deny ourselves that ability as well.

 

 

 

 

This article was sourced from http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/07/5-reasons-why-the-number-on-the-scale-doesnt-matter-lauren-stahl/

Cyclists, Time on the Mat Means Longer on the Road

May 13, 2014

indexWhy should road cyclists? They don’t require the flexibility of dancers, golfers or tennis players. There’s no leaping, twisting or lunging in cycling, just hours spent locked in a flexed position craning the head to gaze forwards.

I may have answered my own question but the simple answer is comfort. Most cyclists are all too familiar with nagging lower backache. It can cut short a ride or even force riders off their bikes and on to the physio’s couch.

The discomfort might be higher, around the trapezius or neck muscles as the upper body is braced for long periods over the handlebars. Or lower, as the glutes or quads contract and shorten after hours of hard pedaling.

Road cycling is a rush. There is no feeling in the world like having the wind in your face on a cold, crisp sunny day as the fields fly by. But a body held in the cycling stance needs regular rebalancing to maintain comfort and prevent injury.

The obvious benefit of yoga is to stretch out tight hamstrings, glutes or quads in order to both avoid injury and create a level of riding comfort. By restoring muscle length cyclists can ‘reset’ the body and feel fresh and ready to ride again.

But that’s not the whole story. Here’s four more reasons why 20 minutes of yoga, two or three times a week, will keep cyclists riding stronger, for longer:

1. Spinal Extension – Yoga’s gentle backbends ease the spine from the flexed cycling position into extension. Backbends also open the front of the body, stretching the chest, or pectoral muscles that shorten over time while riding. Think Sphinx pose, though, rather than Wheel and monitor the back carefully.

2. Lateral Movement – Cyclists operate in a forwards-only or sagittal plane of motion and strive for upper body stillness. This often leads to tightness in the stabilizing muscles of the outer hips as well as the IT band. Lateral, or sideways movements like Triangle provide a deeply satisfying stretch.

3. Lower Back Relief – Sinking into Extended Child’s Pose, post-ride will ease out the lower back (and shoulder) muscles. Add some strengthening postures like Locust in between rides to reinforce the lumbar region, an area vulnerable to injury in the cycling stance.

4. Core Strength – A strong core is vital for posture, power, injury prevention and comfort. Most road cyclists have weak…

 

Article sourced from: http://www.myyogaonline.com/about-yoga/learn-about-yoga/yoga-for-cyclists-why-time-on-the-mat-means-longer-on-the-road?utm_source=MYO+May+03+2014+Non-Paying+NL&utm_campaign=ALL&utm_medium=email