If you're a Massage Therapist in Utah then you may well have heard about the commotion a proposed new bill is making.
According to Chinese philosophy, our health is based on a complex structure of energy pathways, known as qi, through our bodies. By inserting the specialized acupuncture needle, an experienced acupuncturist is able to stimulate the body’s own healing responses and restore the natural equilibrium.
With many people turning to alternative methods of treatment in a bid to relieve symptoms of modern day living, acupuncture has much to offer. Increasingly, acupuncture is also found to help alleviate a range of symptoms specific to women including treatment of gynecological, childbirth and fertility conditions.
Most recently a study has been conducted in Ankara Training and Research Hospital in Turkey to discover whether acupuncture has any benefits for postmenopausal women. 27 women out of 53 were given acupuncture and the remaining 26 were given what they thought was acupuncture but with no needles penetrating the skin.
The results have proved interesting. After 10 weeks, compared to the ‘sham’ group, the results of the other women showed a reduction in menopausal symptoms including the dreaded ‘hot flashes’. Psychological conditions and sleep patterns were also greatly improved in those women seeing benefits.
While more investigation is needed, the researchers felt that acupuncture may boost the levels of endorphins, which may in turn help to control the body’s temperature system and therefore reduce the number of hot flashes experienced.
In addition to the Turkish study, another trial was conducted in Norway recently. It, too, found that those women treated with acupuncture reported significant reductions in postmenopausal symptoms.
Whilte there is still much research to do in this field, perhaps acupuncture should be considered by women of all ages as part of their health regime.
You sit at your desk every day. The company gave you one of those nice ergonomic chairs with a comfy back rest. You do a good job and you’re conscientious in every way. Occasionally you ‘mix it up’ with a walk to the coffee machine and might even venture outside to the Deli at lunchtime. And when your day is done you go to your car and drive home.
Researchers at East Carolina University were told by participants of a recent study that they spent approximately 83% of their working day sitting down. Well it doesn’t take a genius to work out that as our lifestyles have become more sedentary, our waistlines have expanded.
Employers are often looking at ways to improve the health of their employees, reduce levels of absenteeism and help encourage more motivated employees.
The Researchers offered the participants of their study mini exercise bikes that could be used while sitting at their desks. The bikes were then used on average for about 23 minutes at a time and on at least 12 out of the 20 available days.
Although the novelty factor certainly wore off for some, it was a clear way of reducing the amount of sedentary time the participants spent at their desks. The office workers said that if their employer offered the bikes on a full time basis they would be keen to use them.
The Researchers wrote in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that the “Pedal machine may be a feasible tool for reducing sedentary time while at work. These findings hold public health significance due to the growing number of sedentary jobs in the USA and the potential of the device for use in large-scale worksite health programs.”
Regular cycling could help with weight loss, reduce stress and help to improve concentration. Cycling, whether indoors, outdoors or at your desk, is a low impact form of exercise and suitable for a variety of people, even those with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It can help to improve your cardiovascular system and who would say no to a bit of toned thigh?!
As sedentary lifestyles encourage problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, this is an intriguing new take on ‘cycling to work’.
Would your employer offer you and your colleagues a ‘mini-bike’? ...and if so, would you use it? Let us know.
How many of us decide not to look when we go for a blood test... afterall, looking at the needle is just going to make us feel worse, isnʼt it? And we donʼt want to go all queasy and whimper with pain do we? We tell our children to ʻlook awayʼ, and use all sorts of distraction techniques, as we try to calm their fears when the nurse advances towards them with their inoculation jab.
Looking away from the source of pain actually seemsto decrease our pain tolerance levels and makes it a far more painful experience.
A team of researchers from University College London and University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy, were keen to see whether their volunteers detected more or less pain when looking away. A heated probe was applied to the back of their hands and various temperatures used. When the volunteers were unable to see what was going on they were less likely to tolerate the heated probe. But when the volunteers were allowed to look at their hand they seemed to tolerate the pain much better.
On average the volunteers could cope with 3C more heat when they were looking at their body than when they were looking away from it. And thereʼs more...
Magnifying the painful area and letting the volunteers see a larger version of their hand also helped to improve their ability to deal with pain.
While much is known about how the pathways from a pain stimuli connect to the brain, not so much is known about how the brain processes the received information. It is hoped that this research project will provide useful ideas for the future treatment of chronic pain.
In the meantime, when you next have a blood test or vaccination, try looking at your arm rather than away and see how you cope. Let us know how you get on.
Billy Ray Cyrus memorably sang about his ʻAchy Breaky Heartʼ and, poor chap, heʼs never
been able to get over it.
Human hearts are difficult to repair and after a heart attack they are always going to be vulnerable to further damage and never quite the same again. However, a tiny little fish called a Zebrafish amazingly can regrow itʼs own heart and repair any damage it suffered.
The Zebrafish is usually only about 3cm long when adult and most of this tiny fish appears completely see-through. As it matures, it develops the striking horizontal stripes that give it
itʼs name. But this little, tropical, freshwater fish has miraculous properties and is of huge
interest to scientists around the world. Being able to clearly see the heart and blood
vessels developing inside a Zebrafish is a real bonus to researchers. Zebrafish have the
incredible ability to regenerate organs and itʼs not limited just to their hearts. They also
have the ability, after injury, to regrow fins, skin, photoreceptor cells and retinal neurons.
Just like healing a broken bone, these fish simply regenerate to repair any damage.
These beautiful vertebrates offer hope to millions of people worldwide who have suffered
ʻbrokenʼ hearts. As the Zebrafish has some amazing genetic similarities to humans,
researchers hope that soon they will be able to use stem cell research to offer a new
range of life saving treatments.
So, the next time you think about stocking your home aquarium, give a thought to the
wonderful and clever Zebrafish. Who would have thought that such a tiny fish could have
such superhero lifesaving qualities!
Long distance runners have often been chided for their exercise habits. Great tales of woe have been forecast by usually supportive friends and family. Creaky joints, hip and knee replacements and deterioration from osteoarthritis have all been predicted by well-meaning cynics.
However, if you’re a runner you’ll be relieved to hear of a study conducted by esteemed researcher Dr. James F. Fries of Stanford University. Dr. Fries and his colleagues have been studying a large number of runners and non-runners over the age of 50 for the last 20 years.
The study began in 1984, around the time of the birth of the fitness craze and the Jane Fonda workout era. Dr. Fries wanted to ascertain the effects of regular running on the overall health, well- being and longevity of those who chose to run regularly and those who didn’t.
As the years passed, Dr. Fries and his team noticed a contradiction to popular belief. Far from crippling these aging athletes, aerobic activity (running in this particular case) was enabling participants to stay younger and healthier than their non-running friends. The results of the study revealed that it was the non-runners who had a higher incidence of injury, disease and mortality. After 19 years, 15% of runners who had enlisted in the study had died compared with 34% of the non-runner control group. Improved cardiovascular function was just one of the benefits of running. Lower incidences of heart disease, diabetes and cancer were also noted. Those people that chose to run regularly were leaner, had a healthier diet and were less likely to smoke. Even when those classified as runners entered their 90s they were still more active, capable and healthier than their non-running counterparts.
The prediction of knee replacements and osteoarthritis simply didn’t stack up. The runners continued to reap the benefits of their exercise long into their old age, proving that runners stay younger, fitter and healthier far longer than their more sedentary friends.
We’ve become very familiar with the word ‘Laser’ .. but what does it actually mean? It stands for ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation’ which is a bit of a mouthfull! What it means, though, is that we are able to direct light rays of a particular wavelength into an intense focused beam...so intense that the energy within the beam is able to alter the matter it’s directed at.
We are familiar with the notion that lasers in medicine are used for cutting or cauterizing. General surgery wouldn’t be the same today without this technology and, even in the growing field of cosmetic surgery, lasers are used to remove tattoos and a variety of unwanted minor lumps, bumps and marks.
However, the use of cold (non-cutting) laser light is not so well publicized. Even though the technology has been available for a while, Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is only now getting the publicity it deserves.
Instead of using high frequencies and short wavelengths to create a laser beam that will cut, LLLT uses low frequencies and longer wavelengths. When this type of laser is pointed close to the source of pain, it affects the body’s central nervous system and helps to alleviate the problem. LLLT can provide a number of therapeutic treatments helping patients to cope with pain, assisting with wound healing and even be used to stimulate acupuncture points.
In 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration approved certain types of LLLT devices that are able to temporarily relieve pain.
LLLT has been used in treating patients experiencing painful conditions such as:
• carpal tunnel syndrome
• diabetic ulcers
• chronic low back pain
• rheumatoid arthritis
As a drug free, non-invasive procedure, LLLT offers an alternative for those concerned about the use of needles or anyone suffering with allergies to certain types of pain medication. Continued research in this area could provide doctors and pain management specialists with answers to their patients’ prayers. With many more uses for LLLT being investigated, the field of sports medicine and physical therapy are obvious areas for this technology to be used. Already the therapy is being used to help sportsmen and women with a variety of injuries including sprains and strains to knees, shoulders, ankles as well as plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow.
There is still plenty of speculation around the efficacy of LLLT but there is also continuing evidence being published about instances of its successful uses. Although there may be mixed reviews, it is patient feedback that offers positive encouragement.
Taking toys away from children may sound a little harsh but that’s exactly what San Francisco has just done by banning the Happy Meal Toy that our children have become so familiar with. San Francisco isn’t alone in thinking that this is a positive step forward in the fight against obesity. Neighboring Santa Clara made the same decision earlier in 2010. Supporters of this move say that the toys that accompany these meals reward children for choosing fast, fatty and non-nutritional foods. But there are plenty who say that this is a step too far from the ‘food police’.
Current statistics show that one in three American children is overweight. Mississippi currently tops the chart ranking the most obese states in the nation. 33.8% of people living in Mississippi are classified as obese, while a shocking 21.9% of the state’s children are also obese. With over 12 million children and teenagers classified as obese in America, this is literally a growing problem.
So what exactly does the term ‘Obese’ mean? Plainly put, obesity is the accumulation of body fat that has a detrimental effect on a person’s physical wellbeing. It leads to reduced life expectancy and increased health problems. Obesity is ‘measured’ by a calculation known as Body Mass Index (BMI) - dividing your weight by the square of your height. If your BMI score is over 30.0 you are considered to be obese.
18.6 - 24.9 Normal Weight
25.0 - 29.9 Overweight
30.0 - 34.9 Class I Obesity
35.0 - 39.9 Class II Obesity
>40.0 Class III Obesity
Children should be aware that eating fruit and vegetables is better than opting for a cheeseburger, fries and cola but has the message really got through to them? After all, it isn’t our children that do the weekly grocery shopping and they aren’t responsible for what is served up for them to eat. So who really is at fault here?
Despite growing media attention on our ever expanding waistlines, it seems that there are plenty of adults who still don’t understand the consequences of what and how much they eat.
We seem to be unable to resist the lure of fast food or the addiction to over-eating. Perhaps we do need someone to take our toys away to make us sit up and pay attention. What do you think?
If you’re a professional athlete, there are some things that come with the territory. Getting injured is one of them. Most athletes will tell you that they continue to train with various ‘niggles’ and that’s what separates the dedicated from the amateurs.
Albert Einstein once said that the “definition of stupidity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result”. Whilst your average Jock hasn’t always been renowned for being blessed with smarts, there are clearly some guys out there who have realised that there has to be a better way of doing things and are very smart indeed.
LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Kidd are two of the growing number of professional athletes that have incorporated Pilates into their training schedules. In the competitive world of sport, it’s not surprising that new training methods are tested. What is surprising is that an exercise regime that has more recently been associated with the glamorous women of show business, is gaining popularity amongst male athletes.
Joseph Pilates developed the program of exercises, originally called ‘Contrology’, in his native Germany. He brought his ideas to America, via the UK, when he migrated there during the mid-1920s. He believed that Pilates was ‘an ideal system to transform the body into a perf ect instrument of the will.”
Using controlled movements and an emphasis on a strong ‘core’, Pilates instructors will often use props such as exercise balls, resistance bands, Pilates rings as well as specific Pilates apparatus such as the ‘Reformer’.
Although dubious to start with, Jason Kidd told USA Today, “After one session I was energized. From that point on I was convinced it was a great workout.” Team coaches are quickly recognizing that using Pilates is not only great for building strength, agility and speed but it keeps athletes off the injury bench too. The San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Cleveland Indians are just some of the professional teams that have found the benefits of Pilates.
England and US Soccer star, David Beckham was introduced to Pilates whilst at the European club AC Milan and has said “I do an hour of Pilates a day .. and fitness-wise, I am the best I have been for a long time.”
Other sportsmen who are discovering the benefits of Pilates to improve their game include: Golfer Tiger Woods, 2009 NBA World Champion MVP and captain of the LA Lakers , Kobe Bryant, Olympic Gold Medalist Boxer Andre Ward and retired Boston Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling.
The reason that Pilates works so well for men is that it concentrates on stability, core strength, flexibility and efficient movement. Pilates’ deep abdominal core work will result in that much sought after six-pack whilst overall a lean, toned and strong body can be achieved. Pilates offers a much better long term strategy for men who want to get fit and stay strong.