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Positive Impacts Of Playing Games On Your Mental Health

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
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on Friday, 30 October 2015
in Health Blogs

More than one billion people worldwide spend at least one hour playing computer games, but is this a good or bad thing? Jane McGonigal, a successful game designer and passionate author thinks it is a good thing and she talked about it at the Nantucked Project Saturday.

Her talk gave us some insight into the world of playing games and the impacts it has on our mind and body. She also presented some interesting statistics like the fact that we spend almost 1.8 billion minutes playing the addictive facebook game Candy Crush in just one day! It may sound much and there are people who play it too much for sure, but if we play games in moderation we can actually benefit from the positive consequences which are the neurological opposite of depression.

Brain scans have shown that the most active parts of the brain during playing games are the rewards pathway system and the hippocampus. For instance, these parts of the brain are not active when we are in a bad mood, stressed and depressed. McGonigal also shared an interesting personal story. When she suffered a traumatic brain injury, she created her own game called "Jane the Concussion Slayer", to help her heal herself. That's why she has a different point of view on playing games.

A study from the East Carolina University's Psychophysiology lab measured the real effectivity of playing games for the reduction of depression and anxiety. They had 2 groups of people to different things for 30 minutes each day. One group had to read the website of the National Institute of Mental Health and the other group played the online flash games Happy Wheels, Bejeweled and Angry Birds. After that, they measured psychological and physiological responses in both groups. The results showed that the casual playing of video games decreased depression and anxiety for 57%.

Many other studies showed similar results and one thing is for sure, the casual playing of fun and relaxing games from time to time can us help relax and get in a better mood which will lead to positive effects on the overall health. Next time you feel stressed, try playing some of the famous online games like Happy Wheels, Bejeweled, Candy Crush and many others to relax a bit and get your mind of of things. This is definitely better than reaching out to alcohol, cigarettes or other unhealthy sources people use to temporary relax and deal with stress.  

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Benefits of Supplementary Foods on Infant's Health

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
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on Wednesday, 30 September 2015
in Health Blogs

When a baby reaches six months, breast milk becomes insufficient to support the energy and nutrition needs. At this point, it proves necessary to introduce a new way of nourishing the infant. One such way is making use of supplementary foods. The term in this context refers to formulated food mixtures that have been modified to make them suitable for consumption by infants. The foods come with a vast array of health benefits to the infant as discussed below.

Supplementary foods are appropriate for a start because they help to meet the nutritional requirements of the infant for optimal development. In some parts of the world, some nutrients may not be sufficiently available in local foods. When making supplementary foods, cereals are used as the base and are then fortified with vitamins, minerals vegetable oils, milk, and sugar. The resulting mixture is sufficient to ensure that the baby is not missing out on important diet components.

Supplementary foods gradually prepare the infant for weaning. They help the baby to adapt progressively to ordinary foods. The baby’s experience with supplementary foods ensures a smooth transition in diet variations, for example, different tastes and textures of foods. With this, the child is more likely to avoid having digestive problems and developing eating problems during the weaning period. Eating problems are known to cause undernutrition, leading to less energy for growth.

The foods act as a substitute for breast milk. This mostly applies to infants whose mothers cannot produce enough milk for breastfeeding due to various reasons. The foods also act as a remedy for breast milk deficiency. This refers to a situation where a mother produces milk that lacks some micronutrients. In such a case, supplementary foods when taken by infants make up for the missing components, ensuring the child does not suffer from deficiency conditions.

Due to their nutritional composition, supplementary foods boost the immune system of the infant. As such, the child is in a better position to fight illnesses such as colds and pneumonia. Some of the vitamins incorporated into the supplementary foods (such as vitamin C) promote the healing power of the child’s body, so they recover quickly from infections.

Statistics from World Health Organization show that malnutrition affects approximately 160 million infants globally. The view is further supported by a study that they conducted on various parts of the world including Peru, India, and Ghana. The infants were put on a trial supplementation program, and measures were put in place to monitor their development. The study revealed that malnourished child is at a higher risk of being underweight, wasting, and eventually dying.

From the reports of the above study, but also from some researches conducted by clinics or food producers, like Mayo Clinic and Bebivita, it is clear that we cannot underestimate the importance of supplementary foods for infants. The foods eliminate the problem of malnutrition by providing the appropriate amounts of nutrients in correct proportions. With this, the foods promote all round development of the infant and reduce chances of stunted growth. Proper nutrition during childhood is essential for health and survival, and supplementary foods help to meet this goal.

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Massage Benefits: Healthy Reasons To Make An Appointment Today

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
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on Tuesday, 29 September 2015
in Health Blogs

Intro

A massage therapy has several health benefits. The health benefits of a massage therapy are being delivered in a safe and natural method. Having a massage therapy has no harmful effects. That is why it is becoming more and more popular to many people around the world. Massage therapy has different types and each type can give you some health benefits.

Below is the list of the different types of massage therapy that you can try along with the benefits that you can acquire from these types of massage therapy.

Deep tissue massage

The deep tissue massage is especially designed to relieve the severe tension that your body has. The severe tension in your muscles and tissues can be greatly reduced by the deep tissue massage. The deep tissue massage focuses on the muscles that are located below the surface of your top muscles. Consistent body pain due to rigorous physical activities can be treated by this type of massage therapy. After taking a deep tissue massage, you will surely regain your strength and be able to work efficiently. 

Swedish massage

The Swedish massage is the type of massage therapy that makes use of long and flowing strokes. Petrissage, effleurage, tapotement, shaking and friction are the five fundamental strokes used in Swedish massage. A lot of individuals like the Swedish massage because it is very effective in reducing joint stiffness, pain, osteoarthritis and many other bone-related problems. Also, people who have poor circulation reported that their blood circulation greatly improved after trying the Swedish massage.

Sports massage

Sports massage is a form of Swedish massage. The sports massage is designed for athletes. Athletes prefer sports massage than any other types of massage because sports massage can increase the lymphatic and blood fluid flow, decrease the pain they get from training and increase the capacity of their body motion. The sports massage actually has four types. These types include the pre-event massage, post-even massage, restorative massage and the rehabilitative massage. Each type of sports massage should be received by an athlete depending on a particular situation.

Tantric massage

Tantric massage is the most famous type of massage therapy among couples. Complete relaxation can be gotten by couples after trying the tantric massage. Aside from relieving body stress and pain, tantric massage can also cure some diseases. One of these diseases the premature ejaculation of men. Problems related with fertility and blood circulation can be solved by the tantric massage as well. 

Trigger point massage

The trigger point massage targets the trigger points in our bodies. These trigger points are said to be the hyper-irritable spots in our skeletal muscles that can be associated with the palpable nodules in our muscle fibers. The trigger point massage can treat the muscle spasms that a lot of office workers complain about. Also, the blood circulation can be improved through the trigger point massage. 

Conclusion

Indeed, massage therapy is now seen as a crucial part in curing diseases. In fact, a lot of doctors are now advising their patients to have massage therapy sessions at least once a month. The health benefits of massage therapy are now being revealed to the world. So it is not really surprising to know that many are now going to places offering massage therapy. So get a massage therapy now and gain all its health benefits.

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Treating Different Medical Conditions with Massage Therapy

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
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on Friday, 27 February 2015
in Health Blogs

Many studies have pointed out the health benefits that come with a good massage. But as you may have noted, there are many types of massage therapies that are offered on the service menu, all treating different kinds of health conditions. Let us break it down to various medical conditions and the appropriate massage techniques that they heal respectively.

Lower Back Pain- Neuromuscular Therapy

People suffering from chronic lower back pain can find enduring results by having a good massage by professional therapist. According to research conducted by the Center for Health Studies and A Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, it was determined that specific components of neuromuscular massage therapy contribute a bigger percentage to easing lower back pain. What’s more, a study that was published in the Annal of Internal Medicine proved the idea that this therapy offers better results than other medical treatments such as spinal modification.

Muscle Pain/Soreness- Trigger Point Massage

This type of massage focuses on specific areas or muscles of the body, and works to relieve muscle pain and soreness. In this technique the exact problem is identified and the therapist coaxes it with deep pressure to make it relax. According to WebMD, a trigger point is basically a tight area within muscles that may cause pain in a part of the body. This technique releases the constricted areas thus alleviating the pain with just a single treatment.

Stiffness- Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage focuses on applying pressure onto specific muscle points, but unlike trigger point massage, it feels more like one is pushing into all your knotted muscles, leaving you feeling sore. According to Moyer Wellness, therapists use ankles and elbows to relive stiffness on muscle tissue. This type of massage is ideal for athletes as well as those looking for physical therapy to help them in breaking down process of scar tissue. 

Premature Ejaculation - Tantric Massage

PE is a condition affecting males of all ages. It tends to occur due to lack of neurological response to the pelvic muscles, or physiological complications. Tantric massage has been proven to offer good results when it comes to getting rid of PE. According to studies, this therapy focuses on relaxing muscles surrounding the perineum and lingam, and calming the nerves. It is recommended that one completes several sessions to maximize the results.

Anxiety- Shiatsu Massage

A research conducted by University of Miami School of Medicine showed that cortisol, a stress hormone, was reduced significantly after participants had Shiatsu massage. This technique originated from Japan and involves applying finger pressure to different areas of the body. The idea is basically to fix imbalances of energy flow. This massage can also help you in treating ailments such as back pain and headache.

According to various studies, there’s really no doubt what massage therapy can offer people, when it comes to their health and well-being. Different types of massage can help treat medical conditions such as anxiety, PE, stiffness, muscle pain, and lower back pain. If you are looking to relax your muscles and stay stress-free, then it would be wise you consider having various types of massage from time to time.

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Taking Care of Your Health and Wellbeing - Massage Therapy

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake has not set their biography yet
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on Wednesday, 24 December 2014
in Health Blogs

Massage therapy has been practiced for thousands of years, and today you will be able to choose from over 80 different styles and forms of treatment. Each form of massage implements a variety of different movements, techniques and pressures which includes rubbing, pressing and manipulating muscles with the fingers and hands. The 2007 American Massage Therapy Association reported that almost one quarter of American adults attended massage therapy sessions in 2006, perhaps for many different reasons. More people are beginning to realize the great health benefits of a massage, and many of them are using massage to heal injuries, medical conditions and promote overall health. 

Styles of Massage Therapy

Swedish Massage
This is the most common form of massage therapy and it involves long, soft strokes along with rhythmic, light tapping strokes on the top layer of muscles. When combined with joint movement, this treatment will relieve muscle tension, energize the patient and even reduce pain after an injury. Swedish massage therapy implements four main massage techniques, which are effleurage, petrissage, friction and tapotement.

Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage will give attention to specific, painful areas of your body. The therapist will use slow, deliberate movements while applying pressure on muscle layers, tendons and other deep tissues. This form of massage will relieve chronic pains and tensions while alleviating muscle injuries and back pains. 

Thai Massage
This form of massage implements a variety of different techniques, and the therapist will use their body to move the patient into a number of therapeutic positions. It is great for compressing muscles, improving joint mobilization and applying acupressure. 

Tantric Massage
This popular form of massage uses inner energies to bring patients to higher levels of consciousness. A professional tantric massage therapist uses sensual and light touches to awaken dormant energies throughout the body. A tantric massage will help improve your sense of well being while decreasing symptoms of depression and promoting happiness. This is perhaps the most relaxing form of treatment.


Hot Stone Massage
During this relaxing massage, a therapist will place warm stones on different bodily areas, such as pressure points. The stones are used with a variety of massage techniques, and they can be soothing and relaxing while directing heat deep into the body.

Pregnancy Massage
A pregnancy massage will help women who are experiencing significant bodily changes as a result of pregnancy. It decreases stress levels, swelling in limbs and alleviates muscle pain. The therapist uses therapeutic pillows to make the patient comfortable, and then implements a variety of techniques to provide relief during a time when certain medications may be limited.



Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

Back Pains
Many studies have shown the effectiveness of massage therapy for back pains. In fact, a 2003 study discovered that a massage works significantly better than acupuncture or spinal exercises for chronic back pain, and massage reduces the need for prescription drugs by 36%.

Headaches
Massage therapy relaxes the entire body and provides relief from migraines while improving sleep. Studies have proven that massage can reduce the tension of headaches.

Osteoarthritis 
Practitioners have studied the effectiveness of massage on osteoarthritis, and patients experienced a great improvement in control, stiffness and pain after receiving Swedish massage therapy twice a week.

Cancer
While cancer is not curable, massage therapy can help promote relaxation and even reduce side effects from cancer treatment. It can also help reduce depression, pain, swelling and nausea while improving the immune system.

Anxiety
Over 12 twelve studies have shown that massage relieves anxiety and depression symptoms. It can help lower cortisol levels by 50% while increasing the levels of neurotransmitters that diminish depression. A study conducted in 1996 by Shulman, K.R. & Jones, G.E. reported that massage is beneficial to people suffering from depression.

A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago also reported that massage therapy improves blood flow and circulation, and massage is a great choice for people who do not exercise regularly. 

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Learn more about the different types of massage

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 30 September 2014
in Health Blogs

A properly done massage can be of great benefit to you especially in rejuvenating your body. Massages have many proven health benefits including lowering blood pressure and pain management. Additionally, they can help relax the nerves and improve intimacy between partners. There are different types of massage techniques which utilize different styles based on your preference. Massage therapy has been used since ancient times to treat different health conditions and promote overall wellness. You can choose from over 80 different massage styles based on what you want to achieve. Below are 5 of the most popular techniques and their benefits:

1. Swedish massage

This is one of the most popular massage techniques today. It involves the use of long, flowing strokes which are done on the back heading towards the heart direction. A masseuse will also use kneading strokes and deep circular movements to bring a deep feeling of relaxation. Swedish massage has been used as a complementary form of medicine and helps improve health and bring pleasure.

Benefits of Swedish massage:  The massage helps improve blood circulation, reduce stress and pain management for athletes and people with arthritis among others. According to numerous research statistics by Dr. Tiffany Field, a director of TRI in University of Miami, massage not only helps you feel good but also changes your whole physiology thus making it effective medicinally.

2. Reflexology

This is an ancient Chinese massage that targets the hands and feet. Its premise is that there is a connection between these two points and internal organs and pressure is applied on the two to help release any blockage that results in organ distress. The massage is also intended to help improve energy flow between the two points and internal organs. At some point, a therapist will use special tools to help apply pressure more strongly and this could be painful especially in the beginning.

Benefits of reflexology: Reflexology massage helps remove any blockage thus enhancing toxin release from the body. It also helps in pain management, increases blood flow, helps in post-operation recovery and creates relaxation. Studies by National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute have shown that reflexology helps in cancer palliation and also helps reduce psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

3. Tantric massage

Tantric massage has tremendously grown in popularity. It is suitable for people (especially couples) who intend to reawaken their senses. The whole body massage encourages physical and emotional healing and includes moving a gentle movement of fingertips across the back to help stimulate a sense of intimacy.According to Hong Kong massage specialists, this massage can help open up the deepest sensory excitement helping the body reach the crescendo of relaxation.

Benefits of tantric massage: The massage can help eliminate stress in the body, build a sense of intimacy, deepen relaxation, release tension, improve mental clarity and balance energy among other things. According to research conducted at Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital, London, Tantric massage was found to provide holistic effects to over 107 participants.

4. Thai massage

This massage involves yoga-like stretches. Your therapist will pull different parts of your body in different directions to help relax joints and muscles. This includes pulling the ears, toes, fingers, walking on your back and cracking your knuckles.

Benefits of Thai massage: It helps manage cases of muscle ache, loosen joints, improve flexibility and enhance energy levels in the body. Thai massage is suitable for overall wellbeing.

5. Deep tissue massage

This massage targets the fascia and deep layers of body muscles. During the massage, a therapist will use deep finger pressure together with slow but firm strokes to exert pressure on the target parts of the body. It is normally used as an alternative treatment for different physical ailments and is normally considered to be very effective.

Benefits of deep tissue massage:  Helps relieve tension from the deeper muscle layers, relieve stress caused by injuries, repetitive motions and misalignment. It is used to effectively release toxins from the body, improve blood circulation and relieve emotional stress.

Although there many different types of massage techniques, it is good to know that, they do not have equal benefits and therefore you should choose the style that best suits your needs. You should communicate with your therapist before the massage sessions to see which specific style will give you the desired benefits

Tags: massage, therapy
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Sports Massage - Is it only for athletes?

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
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on Tuesday, 19 August 2014
in Health Blogs

Sports massage is a technique that is used to stretch the connective tissues and the muscles of the body aimed at enhancing performance. It differs from a Swedish massage in that it is a deeper form of massage. The Sports Massage therapist can effectively locates numerous areas of tension whether it is a sporting injury or tension caused by other physical activities such as lifting loads or gardening (McGillicudy, 2011).

For high-end athletes, sports massage is part of the regimen in which athletes use to keep in good shape. It reduces soreness and keeps the muscles and tendons strong and flexible. Among the athletes, it prepares for optimal performance, maximize training results, and promotes quick recovery after an event. The The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) research concluded that sports massage prevents injury when massage is received regularly.

There has been a long held assumption that Sports Massage is only for athletes. This is not the case despite the suggestion of the name. According to Ylinen and Cash (2011), sports therapy has made drastic advances in recent years and is no longer the preserve of the professional athletes. Having said that, sports massage is not only for athletes. It has its benefits for recreational enthusiasts as well. It is for everyone with pain, general aches, and tension.

Four main forms of sports massage

Sports massage takes four main forms. To start with, pe-event sports massage is directed towards the partthat will be of most use during an exercise. Second, a post-event sports massage is administered just before an event. Third, a restorative sports massage is given to decrease the rate of injury. Lastly, a rehabilitative sport massage is of most use in reducing and eliminating painas a result of an injury and alsobringing the body back toits health. Sports massage is highly recommended if one one has a specific problem for example a tender knee as a result of running. In such a case, a movement therapist will be of much help in the identification of the problem area and rectifying any abnormality that pertains to movement. In addition, the therapist point of focus is the problem area as an alternative to a full body massage. This problem area may include a pulled hamstring or a frozen shoulder.

Sports Massage is not only used when one faces an injury. It can also be applied in addition to a physical activity routine. In such a case, there is less frequency of injury, increased flexibility, improved performance, enhanced body awareness, and a state of mental and physical relaxation. According to massage therapists from Hong Kong, it stimulates circulation, relieves pain, relaxes muscle spasm, increases lymph flow, and breaks up fibrosis that binds the muscles together.

Conclusion

In conclusion, physiotherapists, doctors, coaches, and trainers should create an awareness that sports massage is of benefit to both the athletes and non-athletes. One does not have to be a sports person to benefit from a sports massage. Overall, it is a great and effective way of eliminating general aches and pains for both athletes and non-athletes.

References:

- McGillicuddy, M. (2011). Massage for sports performance. Champaign: Human Kinetics.
- Ylinen & Cash, (2011). Sports massage. London: Routledge.

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Learn more about the benefits of massage

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 23 June 2014
in Health Blogs

Most people understand massage therapy as beneficial in soothing aches and reducing pain in muscles. However, what many don’t know is that various types of massage therapy extend beyond just soothing pains and aches. Latest research indicates that massage actually does help in several medical conditions. A study conducted in the US showed that only 10 minutes of this therapy reduced inflammation and helped many patients to recover from some common illnesses. Let us look at some surprising benefits that massage may have in store for you.

Reduces stress by managing depression and anxiety

It’s true that a rubdown can be the secret remedy to your stress. For a long time now, massage has been used to soothe depression and anxiety. It reduces the levels of a stress hormone known as cortisol, which results in lifted spirits as well as decreased blood pressure. It also boosts dopamine and neurotransmitters serotonin, which also play a big role in depression.(For more tips how to manage stress, check out this article from Health Tzars, written by Shruti Gaddam).

Eases pain in fatigued and injured muscles

According to a study conducted in the US by Dan Cherkin, PH.D., lead author of the study, 8 out of 10 Americans often experience debilitating back pain. He went ahead to prove that massage helped many people experiencing this pain to function and feel better compared to those who didn’t receive the treatment. It was agreed that this therapy leads to decreased stiffness and pain in muscles, especially to people suffering from osteoarthritis.

Improves sleep

Anyone who has ever been on massage table doesn’t need to be convinced that massage actually promotes healthy sleep. Numerous studies have examined this link and established that this therapy has an effect on delta waves, a kind of brain waves that is connected to deep sleep.

Boosts the body’s immunity

In 2011, researchers found that massage had a significantly big effect as far as boosting one’s immunity is concerned. It showed that the disease-fighting white blood cells of a person are increased to a considerable level. It therefore promotes healthy living and helps one keep common illnesses at bay.

Raises alertness

You won’t believe it but massage has been seen to increase a person’s brain power. This is according to a study conducted by Touch Research Institute (TRI). A number of adults who were given about 15 minutes chair massage completed a series of mathematics questions more accurately and faster.

Curbs headache pains

Just like back pain and aching muscles, headaches are also curbed thanks to massage. According to a study from 2009, conducted by Hong Kong therapists , a regular rubdown can reduce the number of migraines that you experience. Massage of about 30 minutes was seen to decrease pain in people suffering from tension headaches. While doing this, it was also established that it decreases anger that’s associated with pounding head.

Improves skin health

Maybe you never knew but regular massage especially on the face can make a big difference in your skin complexion. It has been found out that massage increases blood flow, which encourages lymphatic drainage, and therefore leading to shutting of toxins away from cells. This means that more nutrients are able to reach your skin cells hence adding vitality to dull complexion.

Whether its Deep Tissue massage, Swedish massage, Reflexology, Sports massage, Cranial Sacral therapy or Geriatric massage, you will enjoy numerous benefits as per your needs. Not only will you stay stress free, you will also keep some health conditions at bay.

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Why you need a physiotherapist?

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
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on Tuesday, 15 January 2013
in Health Blogs

Physiotherapy, also referred to as physical therapy, is a treatment method where a physiotherapist (physical therapist) evaluates, diagnoses, as well as treats various illnesses, disorders and disabilities using a mix of stretches, massage as well as various other techniques for pain alleviation. Physiotherapy is usually considered a traditional treatment technique. If you have an injury that you're not able to cope up with all by yourself , you can always visit a physiotherapist, however in these times there are numerous effective products that are available for use, should you have something as simple as a pulled muscle or a stiff back.

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