You will want to Watch this. We Had a fun talking about stress, exercise, and how to have a better life with Erin Fisk.
We talk a lot about diet, exercise and especially nutrition here, which makes sense given that we are a nutrition company. Diet, exercise, and proper nutrition are not all that you need for good health. To be truly healthy requires taking care of your body, your mind, and your spirit. Your diet, mood, cognitive ability, physical health, and immune health are in a complex balancing act. Each one is connected to the others, having profound effects upon each other. Healing one of these areas will benefit the others while neglecting any one of them can bring them all crashing down. Which leads me to this month’s tip: Massage therapy is not just a great way to heal your body, it’s also one of the most pleasant things you can do for your health!
Massage Therapy Benefits Include, but are not limited to:
- Relieves stress and aids relaxation
- Relieves muscle tension and stiffness
- Fosters faster healing
- Reduces pain and swelling
- Reduces the formation of scar tissue
- Reduces muscle spasms
- Provides greater flexibility and range of motion
- Enhances athletic performance
- Treats injuries caused during sport or work
- Improves circulation of blood and lymph fluids
- Helps Improves posture, reducing neck and back pain
- Aids in rehabilitation after injury or operation
There’s no denying the many benefits of massage. Whether you seek out a massage therapist for stress relief, to “treat yourself”, to pain management, or just out of curiosity, it can help you in ways you never imagined, and should become a part of your regular healthcare regimen.
The Greatest of Side Effects
Stress is a leading cause of disease, whether it be infectious, heart disease, sleep disorders, high blood pressure or any number of stress-related issues. Few things age us faster than stress, either internally and externally. Sadly, it is not possible to eliminate stress completely from our lives, but massage therapy can help manage stress. Reduced stress leads to decreased anxiety, improving your mood and overall outlook. It enhances sleep in both quantity and quality, providing you with greater energy, a clearer head, improved concentration and reduced fatigue. Reducing your stress also helps to improve circulation and lower blood pressure. Many even claim they receive a sense of perspective and clarity after a massage. The emotional balance it provides is just as valuable as the physical benefits.
All powerful health benefits, affecting your mind, body, and spirit, and this is just from the reduced stress associated with massage therapy. Which is amazing when you consider that reduced stress is just a side effect of massage, it’s not even the primary purpose.
The Primary Purpose
Massage targets your muscles, increase blood flow to the tissue through manual manipulation, which can be said to be the primary goal of massage, and has some excellent effects on the body. Massage addresses soreness, tension, and injury by promoting blood flow to the affected areas.
We associate back pain with overworking your muscles, but most neck, back and muscle pain from a far more mundane activity: sitting. Yes, chronic back pain, which is the second most common cause of disability and a top reason for missing work, is often the result of improper posture while sitting and standing. Carrying extra weight, poor posture, and repetitive movements all put a strain on the back, this often results in spasms, tense muscles, and pain in your upper back, hips, glutes and hamstrings. Massage relaxes tense muscles and increasing flexibility by encouraging blood flow, which brings increased oxygen and nutrients. Increased blood flow also reduces swelling and stiffness. Massage therapy also releases endorphins and boosts your levels of serotonin and dopamine, all hormones your body produces to help you feel great, promote healing and pain management, and calm your nerves.
Deep Tissue Massage focuses on deeper tissue structures with intense pressure to release chronic muscle tension and ultimately relax the body. Muscle injuries are more and more common with each passing year, and it’s not because we’re more active. On the contrary, it’s because we’re more sedentary. What’s worse, as we age our joints tend to tighten, restricting our range of motion and flexibility.
Massage therapy maintains and improves flexibility. Working on muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and connective tissues regularly improves flexibility and range of motion, making joints less injury prone.
Incorporating massage, along with stretching, into your routine will reduce soreness after activity. Stretching beforehand allows for more freedom of movement and longer workout periods by preventing lactic acid build up. Regular post-workout massages aid in recovery and relaxation.
Massage plays an important role as a supplement to standard injury rehabilitation procedures. By stimulating circulation and loosening muscles, it helps the body pump more oxygen and nutrients into vital organs and tissues, allowing the area(s) being rehabilitated to heal at an accelerated rate.
From a sprained ankle or twisted knee to muscle spasms or broken bones, massage can provide the opportunity for faster recovery. With the pressure of the therapist’s hands improving blood flow, muscles become warmer. By stretching tight tissues and breaking down adhesions, massage can help flush out swelling in joints, allowing for quicker healing.
Massage causes many physiological and chemical changes to occur in the body, and the effects are profound. Research shows that with massage:
- Fewer aches and less stiffness and pain, even in those who suffer from arthritis
- Decreases migraines and tension headaches
- Asthmatic children have shown increased peak air flow and even better lung function
- Reduced pain, itching, and anxiety in patients suffering from burns
- Lower diastolic blood pressures in patients with high blood pressure
- Decreased water retention and cramping during menstruation
- Premature infants have shown improved weight gain
Increase the Benefits with Frequent Visits
Getting a massage can do you a lot of good. Getting a massage regularly is even better. Making massage a part of your regular self-care will play a huge part in how healthy. Not to mention how youthful you will remain. Just because massage feels like pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. It just happens to be one of the most enjoyable healthy things you can do for your body.
Tip 1: Drink Water
Every cell in your body functions only as well as the fluid that surrounds it. Therefore, the more hydrated your body is, the healthier you are likely to be.
The body eliminates waste through liquids in four ways: respiration, urination, perspiration or defecation. Each of these processes dehydrates you, making the replenishment of fluid essential. As we age, the amount of water persistently in our bodies decreases, making the elimination of waste more difficult. The older we get, the more water we need to drink. The same goes for hot days when we perspire more and dry days when we lose more water through respiration.
You should not wait until your mouth and throat are dry to drink water. In fact, people often believe they are hungry when they are thirsty.
Tip 2: Address Nutritional Deficiencies
One of the biggest yet often overlooked reasons for aging is some form of deficiency. Deficiencies occur when we age because the body absorbs vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients less efficiently. One major example of this is vitamin B-12. After your mid-thirties, the loss of the intrinsic factor makes it more difficult for the body to absorb B12.
Tip 3: Diet
Contrary to popular belief, the key to weight loss is not exercise, but diet. Changing your diet to lose weight and gain valuable nutrients can significantly increase your life span. Eat more of these foods: leafy greens and veggies; fruits (especially citrus ); polyunsaturated fats like those in seed oils, fatty fish (sea bass, tuna, mackerel, trout, salmon), coconut milk, avocado, and VitaMist Omega Spray; proteins from lean white meat, tofu, beans, and seeds. As important as what you do eat is what you don’t, which includes large portions of fatty red meats, hydrogenated oils, white bread, and especially sugar.
Tip 4: Exercise
Exercise may not put much of a dent in your waistline, but it will help you live longer! To ensure that you continue to be active, you should choose something FUN. Whether you love the gym, can’t get enough yoga, enjoy pickup games of basketball, soak in the sights on long hikes or take that dancing class you have been dreaming about, you should enjoy your activities!
Tip 5: Stop Smoking!
Smoking kills in many ways. It destroys the alveoli, the small sacks in your lungs that allow you to breathe, and fills your lungs with tar. It increases the carbon monoxide in your blood, rendering red blood cells useless. It overrides your body’s ability to monitor CO2 levels, causing you to inhale less frequently than you should. Smoking increases stomach acidity, causing ulcers and indigestion. The chemicals in cigarettes can destroy DNA, causing the mutations that lead to cancer. It can cause hardening of the arteries and it eats holes in your teeth, potentially leading to plaque in your arteries, causing heart disease and strokes. You CAN quit smoking. VitaMist’s Habit Free can help, and there are many other resources such as smokefree.gov or state-run programs like Arizona’s ASHLine.
Tip 6: Use Sun Block
The sun’s radiation can destroy skin cells. Like smoking, it damages DNA, leading to wrinkles, discoloration, and even skin cancer. Getting a “healthy” tan is decidedly unhealthy, as each time you tan you are prematurely aging your skin.
Tip 7: Don’t Stress Out
Stress, negativity, anger and hostility increase stomach acidity and blood pressure, while dehydrating you and sapping your B vitamins. Relax. Stressing out will not solve any of your problems, it will only give you more of them.
- An excellent way to help you body handle more stress is to give it more water and B vitamins. Check out our VitaMist D-Stress Spray, which was formulated just for such an occasion.
Tip 8: Sleep Well
A good, healthy night’s sleep is one of the biggest keys to a long life. Taking a sleep study will help determine if sleep apnea or another condition is preventing you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Regulating your sleep patterns with a melatonin supplement can also contribute to ensuring you get the sleep you need, but on the schedule that you want.
If you think you may not need dietary supplements, read this. It could change your health for the rest of your life.
Finally, after more than 50 years, leading medical journals now recommend all adults take multivitamins. Both the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association have concluded that:
- “Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone”
- “Inadequate intake of several vitamins has been linked to chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.”
- “Suboptimal folic acid levels, along with suboptimal levels of vitamins B6 and B12, are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, neural tube defects, and colon and breast cancer; low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteoporosis and bone fracture; and low levels of the antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, E and C) may increase risk for several chronic diseases.”
- “It appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”
A large body of research has clearly demonstrated that the nutrients found in dietary supplements reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve quality of life, and increase longevity.
Here are selections of reasons why you cannot depend on food alone for all of the nutrition you need to stay healthy.
Reason #1: The average American is overfed and undernourished. It’s no secret. Just look around you. Most people are gaining weight. Even kids are overweight these days. You or someone you know has a chronic disorder of some kind.
If you’re like most Americans, you’re consuming fabricated convenience foods high in calories but low in food value (nutrition). This type of diet leads to “subclinical” or marginal deficiencies that lead to vague health complaints such as nervousness, listlessness, recurring minor infections, general aches and pains, difficulty concentrating, irritability, depression, muscle weakness, fatigue, insomnia, and just not feeling right.
A large body of research has demonstrated that most Americans are not getting what they need from their diet. For example, in one recent U.S. Dept. of Agriculture survey of 20,000 people, not a single person was consuming adequate levels of all the vitamins and minerals. In this study, the percentages of Americans were found to be deficient as follows: 90% in vitamins. B6, 75% in magnesium, 68% in calcium, 57% in iron, 50% in vitamin A, 45% in vitamin B1, 41% in vitamin C, 34% in vitamin B2, 34% in vitamin B12…. and the list goes on.
There are literally hundreds of medical studies to suggest it’s a virtual certainty that you and every member of your family are deficient in one or more essential nutrients.
Reason #2: Soil depletion. Modern mass-production agriculture depletes nutrients from the soil without replenishing them. The application of synthetic fertilizers stimulates the growth of beautiful-looking plants. However, the nutrient content is missing.
So when you bite into that healthy salad or slice of whole-wheat bread, you’re getting less nutrition today than from the identical foods grown in the same soil fifty years ago.
Reason #3: Commercial food processing. Much of the food you eat is processed in one way or another. When foods are processed, they are exposed to heat, light, oxygen, or drastic change in temperature or humidity. This exposure causes the destruction of vital but fragile nutrients. Examples of processing include baking, extruding, milling, grinding, boiling, cooking, recombining, spray drying, etc.
Reason #4: Food storage and transportation. All foods deteriorate as they age. This is a problem for the food industry, because many foods are shipped over great distances. Therefore chemicals are added to preserve foods and give them a longer “shelf life”. Unfortunately, in spite of chemicals, the nutrient content of foods decline over time, even though they may look the same.
Even fresh fruits or vegetables may be sprayed, gassed or fumigated in order to make them look “ripe” and “fresh”. So what looks healthy isn’t necessarily as healthy as you may think.
Reason #5: Preparation and cooking of foods. Many people eat out or bring something home from the market that is already cooked. Even if you prepare your meals at home, most of your food is probably cooked, not raw. Here’s the problem: the more you cook a food, the less its nutrient value.
Of course, there are some foods, such as grains and dried legumes that you have to cook because they’re inedible when raw. You’re obviously not going to eat a bowl of raw rice. However, if you overcook rice, you lose nutrients.
Reason #6: Home storage of food. Have you looked in your refrigerator lately? How long has that head of lettuce been in there? What about those leftovers from three days ago? Refrigeration does slow down the deterioration of food, but it certainly does not stop it. As every day goes by, whatever is in your refrigerator is losing its nutritional value.
Some people will eat something out of the refrigerator that is three weeks old, or something from the pantry that is a year old. By this time, some vital nutrients have been completely lost.
Reason #7: Food irradiation. Exposing foods to gamma rays, x-rays or other radiation extends their shelf life by destruction of microorganisms, inhibition of sprouting, and delay of ripening. Some meats, chicken, and vegetables are irradiated. Foods served in restaurants or schools may be irradiated. The problem with irradiation is that vital nutrients, especially antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins, are destroyed. There’s no label to tell you if a food has been irradiated.
Reason #8: Pesticides in foods. A pesticide is a poison. A little bit of pesticide will kill a bug. A lot of pesticide will kill you. Most foods contain pesticides. Even organic produce contains pesticides, although a lot less than regular produce. Pesticides may be applied to the soil, to the growing plant, or to the food while in storage or shipment.
Keep in mind that you can’t see, smell or taste these pesticides. So you have no way of knowing if what you’re eating contains pest poisons. But your body knows. Some pesticides can accumulate in the body and cause problems. Your body has to deal with the problem by expending valuable vitamins and minerals to detoxify and try to eliminate these poisons.
Reason #9: Genetically modified foods. Millions of acres of genetically modified corn, cotton and potatoes have been planted in the U.S. (Cotton is mentioned here because cottonseed oil is found in many processed foods, and cottonseed meal is fed to cattle.) These foods, which are now in our food supply, have been engineered to produce a naturally occurring pesticide that is supposedly toxic only to insects. There are no long-term human studies to indicate that genetically modified foods are safe. However, rats fed genetically modified potatoes had increased intestinal infections, reduced immunity, and reduced weight of intestine, pancreas, kidneys, liver, lungs and brain. Since you may be unknowingly consuming genetically modified or irradiated foods, you would need dietary supplementation to offset the invisible but potentially negative effects of such foods.
Reason #10: Environmental pollution. We dump nearly six billion pounds of chemicals into our environment every year. While some of it ends up in our food, much of it is in our air and water. If you breathe air and drink water, you are ingesting chemical pollution. Medical research has clearly established that environmental chemicals contribute to degenerative diseases.
You have no choice but to eat food, drink water, and breathe air. Therefore, you will need dietary supplements to help you process and detoxify the pollution entering your body every day.
Reason #11: Bioaccumulation of pollution in animal foods. There are certain “persistent” pollutants that tend to accumulate in any living thing, whether animal or plant. The higher up the food chain, the greater the accumulation. Take swordfish for example. Swordfish is known to have high levels of mercury, a toxic metal.
The problem starts when small baitfishes eat organic material that contains mercury. They metabolize the organic material but retain the mercury. Small predatory fish then eat the baitfish, thus inheriting their accumulated mercury. The more bait fish they eat, the more mercury they accumulate. Finally a swordfish comes along and eats a bunch of small predatory fish, and picks up a load of mercury. So a big swordfish can gather a lot of mercury over time. But the swordfish is not the end of the chain. You are! You eat the swordfish, and now all that accumulated mercury is stored in “your” body.
Swordfish is only one example out of hundreds. Here’s the point. You’re at the top of the entire food chain on earth. Therefore, you unknowingly accumulate heavy metals and chemical pollutants, which are proven to be detrimental to your health. If you consume animal foods, you need dietary supplements to help you handle the pollutants they contain.
Reason #12: “Energy” pollution. Energy pollution invisibly burdens your body. The form of energy pollution you’re familiar with is radioactive fallout, like that from nuclear testing in Nevada, which caused an increase in cancers downwind from the test site. Another, less well known form of energy pollution is altered magnetic fields’ from electrical motors and circuits, and all kinds of energy transmissions (microwave, radar, cell phone, etc.). Not only can energy pollution destroy or damage cells directly, but also it causes a stress reaction in the body, which leads to hormonal imbalances. For example, energy pollution reduces your levels of melatonin, an essential hormone. Once again, dietary supplements are a method to assist your body to compensate for another type of pollution from which there is no escape.
Reason #13: Genetic weaknesses. Each of us is genetically and biochemically unique. But none of us is perfect. We all have some kind of genetic weakness. For example, you might have a genetic abnormality in methionine metabolism called homocystinuria (methionine is an amino acid required to make your body function). In this case, taking large doses of vitamin B6 is a way to compensate for this weakness. There are hundreds if not thousands of possible genetic abnormalities. Many of them can be minimized with dietary supplementation.
Reason #14: Chronic Stress. “Stress” occurs when your body has a “fight or flight” response to any situation. Most of the time, you’re not aware of it. Stress can come from anywhere at any time. It could be a barking dog, a disagreeable boss, a car that needs repair, an unpaid bill, a relationship that isn’t working, or living alone or Anything at all. You become so accustomed to stress that you consciously tune it out – but your body doesn’t.
When stress is repeated over and over, it is called chronic stress, which seriously depletes your body of energy and vital reserves. Chronic stress produces hormones that have a long-term weakening effect on your body, which accelerates the aging process and leads to chronic degenerative disease. Supplements reduce the detrimental effects of chronic stress.
Reason #15: Your lifestyle. How you behave may increase your need for supplementation. For example, smoking or drinking alcohol to excess dramatically saps your reserves of vital nutrients. In both cases, dietary supplementation is not an option – it’s a requirement.
On the other hand, if you’re an avid mountain climber or high-performance athlete, you use up nutrients faster than the average person. The same is true if you work in a physically demanding occupation. Your performance will be improved with dietary supplementation.
Reason #16: Weak digestion. Heartburn, bloat after eating, burping, or gas may suggest you have an impaired ability to digest your food. If you can’t digest your food, it can’t be absorbed into your body. Supplementary digestive aids may be indicated.
Reason #17: Getting older. Medical studies have proven that you lose your digestive power, as you get older. By the time you’re “elderly”, you have a serious problem that can only be corrected by supplementation.
In addition, studies have shown that many elderly people eat less well than they did in earlier years. In this case, dietary supplements can augment an otherwise inadequate diet.
Reason #18: Teenager. It’s no secret that adolescents eat and drink things that are very unhealthy, i.e., “junk food”. This is no way to nourish a maturing body. Most teenagers need dietary supplementation.
Reason #19: Chronic disease or disorder. It doesn’t matter what the disorder is. It could be arthritis, macular degeneration, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, eczema, PMS or anything else. Specific dietary supplements can help almost any disorder.
Reason #20: Medications. Americans consume an astounding quantity of prescription and over-the-counter medications. However, nothing in your body operates in isolated compartments – everything interacts with everything else in some way. Many drugs interact with supplements, or cause an increased need for them. For example, women on birth control pills may have an increased need for vitamin B6. People on Glucophage need more calcium, B12 and folic acid. The list is endless. So if you’re on medication, consult with one of our physicians to determine the specific supplements you need.
Reason #21: Pregnancy. Your requirement for nutrients undergoes a big shift when you become pregnant. It’s to your and your baby’s benefit to take supplementation to reduce your risk of a miscarriage or pregnancy complications, and to have a healthier baby.
BOTTOM LINE: Because of worldwide pollution and degradation in the quality of our food supply, it’s hard to imagine anyone who will not need nutritional supplements for the rest of his or her life. In addition, many people have health problems, a lifestyle, or special situations where supplements are advisable.
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