Do you know what stress means to the human body? Did you know that there are different levels of stress?

falling-cup-coffee-d-concept-42437287The stress that you feel when you drop your mug of morning coffee or tea verses the loss of a loved one are very different. This is an obvious example of a low stress situation verses and high stress situation. But, to each individual, the level of stress can vary when we talk about the difference between dropping that cup of coffee and forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning. Because the implications of the amount of stress you feel about forgetting your dry cleaning can vary based on many factors. Is it just everyday work clothes and you have enough to last the week? Is it the night before your cousins wedding and that was the outfit you planned to where and now the dry cleaners is closed?

Stress surrounds us on a daily basis. Our children too. When they let us down, that’s stressful for them. Being picked last in Gym class, or missing a goal at a soccer game, these things are also stressful for a young person. They would be stressful for adults too if we were in such situations. In truth, we are so surrounded by stress, that many of us have become blind to it unless there is a major stressor.

So what do we do? Well, as a whole, we need to get back to being cognizant of the stress in our daily lives and how it affects us. But, how does it affect the body?

In extreme cases, it’s easy to spot. Our pulse speeds up, we feel on edge, or maybe our chest feels tight. Yet, our bodies react to every stressor, even the minor ones.

When a stressful situation occurs your sympathetic nervous system goes into action. This is your fight or flight response. Yes, this happens even with dropping your cup10443138_10152250807041247_6802790800313120114_o of coffee. Notice how your breath stops for a moment. Maybe you put your hand to your chest. It may only be for 3 seconds, but your body reacted and it’s reacting on a deeper level. It releases hormones to combat the threat. Because although the body is generally very intelligent, somethings it doesn’t account for properly. And it takes time for those hormones to dissipate. While you are in fight or flight mode your body is taking inventory. It is deciding what your most necessary functions are and which functions are not so necessary.  This causes the immune system to go into over drive.

That’s correct, your immune system takes a hit when your body goes into survival mode. This is why most illness stems from being over worked, and stressed out. But we don’t always take care to realize how much stress we have taken on.

Consider this, you drop your coffee mug and it shatters onto the floor. Then your kids tell you they missed the bus and are going to be late for school and you need to drive them. On top of that, you have a presentation for the boss today and know that you cannot be late yourself.

Do you feel the stress building?

Luckily, you make it to work on time, but your boss is in a bad mood. Plus, the copy machine is broken again and you needed to make copies…

I’m going to stop there, but I hope you can see how stress can compound upon itself. These are all minor things on there own, but when you start stacking them on top of one another, the amount of stress put upon you grows, over loading your immune system, and raising your blood pressure.

This is why people are childsposeturning toward Holistic and Alternative therapies as the best option for preventative medicine. Because, when you keep your stress level in check, you are less likely to become sick, over whelmed, and/ or lose control.

Therapies such as yoga, meditation, massage, and acupuncture help to relax your mind and body, reducing your blood pressure and alleviating stress naturally. So do yourself a favor. And make time for self care.

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frustratedIt’s strange. I do a lot of reading. Spend a lot of time educating myself on numerous health care topics. Yet still, when it comes time to write these blogs, I find myself wondering, “What should I write about?”

I worry, will it be interesting? Will I sound too much like stream of thought, or will it sound well composed? Will what I say be engaging, or tired out? Can I make an impact? Does anything that I have to say matter?

Today, I’m thinking, a lot of us go through similar thought processes. Students worry about the next report they need to turn in. Office workers worry if the person on the other end of the phone will hear in their voice how bad there day is going even though they are trying not to let it affect their work. Artists worry if they’ll find inspiration. And we all worry about social gatherings and what kind of impression we’ll make.

All of this worrying takes a toll on our minds and bodies. Because worrying, is a type of stress. And as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, stress leads to weakening of the immune system and suppression of certain bodily functions. Therefore, it is important to keep ourselves in check.

Every Thursday morning I listen to Elvis Duran and the Morning Show on Q102, hoping to hear my horoscope. (I’ve missed it for the past month somehow.) However, what I have heard is Bethany acknowledging an hourly deep breath. She literally gives the audience a reminder to stop and take a deep breath! That is a wonderful thing. Because the simple act of taking a moment, to allow yourself to concentrate on something as simple as the feel of a deep inhalation and exhalation, can greatly reduce our stress and worry.

Take a Deep Breath

llustration for the essay “Take a Deep Breath” from REWORK, the new business book from 37signals. Illustration by Mike Rohde.

I’m not going to be obnoxious and repeat that last statement, but read it again. That last part in bold type. Because you will be surprised if you can commit to taking a deep breath hourly, how much better your day will go. And how much better you will feel over all.

This of course, is not a fix all. What is? I don’t believe that there is any ONE thing that will fix everything. Mostly because the root cause of each issue is not the same.

bananaMy mother always said that a charlie horse is a direct result of not enough potassium and to eat a banana. While that might be true 90% of the time, cramping in the calf can also be caused by dehydration, over working the muscles during exercise, not stretching enough, pinched nerves, or when the room temperature is too hot during a workout. All of these things have different root causes.

For dehydration, you need to make sure that you are getting the correct amount of water. I agree with the 25% to 50% of your body weight in ounces method of determining the correct amount of water you should be drinking. Because if you take in too much, the body will start flushing out the good nutrients too causing undernourishment.

If you are over working the muscle or not stretching properly, you need to lighten up your work out, make sure to stretch before and after, and get massage or cupping regularly. This will prevent future issues with cramping.

Pinched nerves are best treated through good Chiropractic Care. I highly recommend seeing a Chiropractor every week for athletes, every 2 weeks for weekend warriors, and once a month for the average person.

Lastly, if it’s excessively hot, don’t work out. It’s just a bad idea.

Hopefully, you get my point. We all need a break every once in while. The more we focus on taking care of ourselves, the better our quality of life will be.

GIF taken from: https://www.reddit.com/r/gifs/comments/2nd9f6/if_you_would_like_to_try_breathing_in_sync_with/

I screwed up. I made a decision last month that has caused a cascading effect of stress, fatigue, and now physical pain. That one decision built up on me over the past 2 weeks and is starting to cause my body and brain to try and shut down.

Picture courtesy of: Orkut scraps

What did I do? I added a work day to my schedule. Well, that’s the simple version. What actually happened is a lot more complex. But, that one decision, thanks to previous engagements and circumstances that are beyond my control, has lead to 15 days without a break. And since July is 31 days, I’m looking at another 16 days before I get a day off.

NOT GOOD!

We all need down time. It’s a big part of how our bodies stay healthy. Stress is a burden on the entire body and the soul. It weighs us down, and leads to sickness. I can already feel that my body is weaker. I’ll likely start supplementing with Elderberry and Vitamin C to help strengthen my immune system. That’s the least that I can do. Next, I’ll just pray that I don’t end up sick. Because, although I know what I really need to do is add in Meditation and focus on better sleep, I’ll likely find that my time is not being properly allocated.

As I always tell my clients, you cannot take care of others unless you first take care of yourself. This is especially true for healers. When our energy is drained, and our brains depleted, we don’t always make the best decisions. But in Alternative therapies, we also rely on using our energy to help others to heal.

In my case, I felt guilty about needing to give up 4 working days for classes that I needed to take and so I added on the extra work day to make up for it. I think next time, I’ll remember that taking care of my health is just as important as offering enough hours for my clients to book.

Don’t make the same mistakes that I did. Always remember to make time for yourself. Whether it’s time at the beach, reading a book, going out with friends, or getting a really good massage. Managing your stress is extremely important for a healthy and happy life.

 

In the USA the phrase “My body my choice” is most often used in the abortion argument. The conundrum I face, is that this doesn’t seem to apply to other medical choices.  Especially when you share your opinion with others who ask for advice.

It’s easy to shrug off the cruel responses by stating, “if you don’t like my answer than you shouldn’t have asked.” One could also just refrain from commenting at all. However, when you are the type of person that is compelled to help others, it’s hard to resist the urge to share the information that you have gleaned simply because it isn’t conventional.

A young woman in one of my Facebook groups was chastised by another group she was in for suggesting to an upset mother (who was looking for help for her dying child for whom chemo was no longer working), that she look into some natural alternatives. Chemo was not working. The girl is 4 years old and her cancer is killing her. So this young Samaritan, just a teenager herself, who has lost a few family members to cancer and understands how desperate this mother must be feeling, offered hope in the name of natural alternatives. Out come the haters. The other members started calling the girl names, stating that chemo is the most effective treatment and that her even suggesting quack medicine is cruel.

It’s safe to say that I was not surprised. But it still makes me sad. I’ve lost 3 grandparents, 1 Aunt, and 1 cousin to different types of cancer. I also have my father and a few friends who have survived. All received conventional treatments. But when my Aunt was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer in 1997, all extra treatments were welcome. Pancreatic Cancer is usually considered a death sentence. And in my Aunt’s case, it did take her life. But at 14 years old, I had read somewhere that tigers eye gemstones energetically helped with pancreatic issues. So I found my tigers eye stone, prayed over it, and sent it to my Aunt while she underwent her chemo treatments. She kept it with her at all times.

I’d like to note that I had, at one time, 4 Aunts and 6 Uncles on my mothers side of the family. I have 17 cousins on that side of my family as well. My relationship to this Aunt was no more special than any of the other Aunts and Uncles. She and the family just wanted her to beat the odds set against her, and we accepted anything alongside conventional treatments that the doctors felt would not interfere with the Chemo. What I know now, had I known it then, would not have made a difference. My family might have been open to energetic treatments, but they have their limits on acceptance of holistic therapies. My youngest Aunt has had 3 different scares for cervical cancer and does not want to hear a word about how changing her diet and managing her stress level might help reduce her chances of cervical cancer. And although it saddens me, I respect her choices because I believe that “my body my choice” should extend to all medical decisions.

I want to take this one step further though. And here is where is can get really dicey. You see, we are indoctrinated to believe in the Western Medical Cult. From TV commercials telling us what drugs to ask our doctors to prescribe, to the propaganda in the doctors offices telling us what to do to prevent or treat illness. Countless people get surgery that wasn’t actually needed. Just as Chemo therapy is only effective in 2.1% of the population in the USA, only a small portion of back surgeries are actually effective at ridding the person of back pain. But massage is extremely effective in reducing or eliminating back pain. (See studies here and here.) Yet, we are still waiting on studies to be done that will show the effectiveness of cupping, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, etc. on pain management. Because, we are indoctrinated to second guess the success of others. We are told that we need proof of effectiveness, unless a doctor tells us what to do. Then, we are not to question the doctor. Lucky me, my mother the RN taught me not to rely on the Doctor. Because, as she said, Doctors are human, not omnipotent, and therefore make mistakes.

For me, what is truly disheartening is the lack of knowledge and acceptance in the Western Medical community on how holistic therapies can prevent and treat so much of the issues that medications are prescribed to cover up. When a client comes in with a shoulder tear, they’ve already received Lidocaine or Cortisone injections in the past. These injections make it so that the client cannot feel the pain. This is a bad thing because most clients actually end up causing the tear to worsen. Or, the constant use of already injured tissue causes inflammation of the surrounding tissues. Therefore, over time, the injections become less effective and a condition that could have been managed with massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy is now worse than it was in the beginning.

Contrary to popular belief, pain is an essential part of the health of your body. Pain tells you that something is wrong. It stops you from doing things to cause further damage. It warns you that you need to take a break, or find a new way to do something so that you aren’t causing trauma or injury to your body.

So, when someone tries to tear you down, or make you feel lesser for choosing holistic over conventional therapies, know that you may be in the minority, but you are not alone. And if the Doctor tries to scare you into a treatment that makes you uncomfortable, or sets your intuition on high alert, remember, it’s YOUR body. You are the one that has to live in it, so they do not have the right to decide how you take care of it. Just tell those doctors and the scared sheep who follow them blindly, “it’s my body, my life, and my choice.” And, “everybody has the right to know the alternatives and make the right decision for his or herself.”

 

The best part about what I do is preventive medicine.  I use the term ‘medicine’ lightly because I am conditioned to think of medicine as drugs.  Growing up in the United States, that’s how they want us to think. All the advertising and money making machines don’t want you to worry about what could harm you because there are drugs available to ‘fix’ it later. It is that philosophy that has me so very disheartened.

I’ve seen it most of my life having grown up with a mother who is a nurse.  You tell a diabetic to carefully monitor what they eat, and they don’t listen.  That doughnut, right now, will make me happy and so what if I suffer a little later.  It can’t really be that bad.  And maybe that one doughnut won’t be a major issue.  So you eat it.  You feel fine.  The next day you eat 2.  No big deal. Now you’re eating 1 or 2 doughnuts a day and in a week, then you’re in the hospital dealing with the side effects or your bodies inability to produce the right amount of insulin to break down the sugars.

So now you behave for a month or maybe three, but you are craving those doughnuts again and so the process starts all over landing you back in the hospital.

If you’re not a diabetic, you probably don’t understand.  You’re probably thinking, “That’s silly to do so much damage to yourself. Suck it up and give up the doughnuts!”  Well, that’s how I feel about the way people treat their health, like something they can worry about later.

If scientists could give you proof that dairy products like milk and cheese cause osteoporosis (weakened bones), would you be able to give it up?  If processed sugars are the leading cause of diabetes, why is it so hard for people to cut processed sugar laden foods and drinks out of their diets?

I can’t answer that question either. I found out that food allergies were making me sick and I cut those foods out, changing my entire lifestyle to improve my quality of life.

 

In Alternative healthcare, we are looking for the root cause of the given issue. As a massage therapist and as a cupping therapist, I ask many questions to help me better understand what is actually causing the clients discomfort, tension, or pain. This informs the techniques that I will employ as well as the treatment plan and recommendations that I might make. If a person presents with back pain, I’m not just going to tell them to get on the table. I’m going to ask when they started feeling the pain. Is it a sharp or a dull pain? Is this something that is constant, or does the pain come and go?

When I allow myself to dig deeply into the why, I know whether I’m sending them home with stretches after my massage, or if I’m forgoing the massage and recommending the client see a doctor. (Lower back pain can mean kidney issues). It’s a disservice to the client if I’m not on my game making sure that I help them to get better the right way and give them ways to avoid being in pain.

Regular monthly massage and cupping can help to prevent illness or injury. These treatments boost the immune system and help to reduce stress. They can even help alleviate stress induced insomnia. Yet, all too often I hear, I’m too busy, I don’t have time for massage.

This is when I ask, “Can you afford to miss a week of work while you are out sick?” Most of them will say, “No.”

One hour a month, is not a lot of your time. Even two hours is nothing when compared to a week out of work. So remember, it’s much more cost effective to take 1-2 hours each month instead of losing a week of pay every 2-3 months.

Somehow I ended up on an email list for The Sacred Science. I probably noticed an ad in my Facebook feed and clinked on it thinking it would be a good place to learn more about my industry. As it turns out, it was a good idea.

Last week they sent me a link to a video, The Energy Tourniquet: 4 Movements for Life Force Flow.

I never tell people to try anything that I haven’t already tried myself, so I followed the videos instructions from beginning to end. And I felt amazing!

Almost instantly I started to feel better circulation and blood flow. By the end, my aches and pains had faded. They didn’t go away completely, but became much more manageable.

What he offers in the video is a type of yoga.  For people who are just becoming acquainted with Holistic Health and Alternative therapies there are a lot of new terms (which he explains) and some of the verbiage can be a little off-putting. But stick with it.

I often like to remind people that we are energetic beings. Science has proven that everything in this world is made up of energy. Atoms are the very foundation of the world as we know it. The body is simply a very dense cloud of atoms that our brains comprehend to be solid masses.

So, once we can open up our minds to better understand how we are affected by the energy around us, how our breath plays an important role in our healing mechanisms, we can reach higher and higher levels of self healing abilities.

Every yoga class or meditation group I have attended has always talked about the importance of paying attention to the breath. Does it hitch when we move a certain way? How deeply are we breathing? So during your next massage, cupping, or acupuncture treatment, be mindful of your breath.

I have to admit, I’m kind of terrible at this blogging thing. I get distracted, writers block, or feel like somebody else could say it so much better that I might as well just let them do it. This is doubt. This is negativity creeping up into my life and taking over. And the best thing that I can do, it try to nip it in the bud! So, I’m going to try to do better from now on. Not just for me, but for you as well. Because we all deserve better.

You see, as an energetic practitioner, I realize that I’m only doing myself harm by not trying to be the best possible me that I can be. We all do this from time to time. We make excuses as to why we haven’t fixed that broken chair leg, or written that letter of recommendation, or made it to the post office to send out that birthday gift you purchased 2 years ago for your friend… Of course, if it’s 2 years late, it might not be relevant anymore which made it a waste of money.

And honestly, the thought doesn’t always count. It’s nice that you thought about picking up toilet paper, but now that you are out of it and dealing with a really bad stomach bug, you’re now in a bit of a pickle.

Life is crazy and hectic and gets in the way a lot of the time for everyone. But the truth is, only a handful of things are out of our control. Most of what stops us from getting things done, is ourselves. And once we realize how much we tend to stand in our own way, it makes it easier to get out of the way.

Here are 5 Tips to get back on track

 

1. The Daily ‘PAUSE’


A lot of the time procrastination and self-doubt enter into our lives because we need a break. It’s not uncommon for us to fall behind on chores and tasks because our body and mind is telling us we need to slow down.
This can be difficult for a lot of people, so if it’s a really tough thing for you to do, start small. Set up a daily alarm on your phone to remind you to breathe. Just that. At 2:00pm, the alarm goes off, you close your eyes and take 5 deep, slow breaths. Once you’ve got this routine down. Consider adding in a guided 30 minute meditation either first thing in the morning, or sometime in the evening after work. (There are great guided meditations on YouTube). Next, slowly work that meditation up to an hour everyday. (Or join a meditation group once a week in your area.) Once you’ve mastered the art of the daily ‘pause’ you might find that you are far more productive and a lot less overwhelmed.

 

2. Morning Exercise


Exercising boosts feel good endorphins and helps to stimulate circulation. This is highly beneficial, not just for your overall health, but for getting you ready to face your day. When you exercise in the morning, using an aerobic exercise, the flow of blood stimulates the brain to an active and ‘ready’ state. Of course, maintaining a healthy diet with your exercise is just as important. As my JuicePlus+ loving friend always reminds me, when you work out your body releases cellular waste into your system, so you need to add in anti-oxidants to flush out the waste in order to stop that cellular debris from becoming stagnant in your body. When you hear about the mid-day crash that people suffer from, it’s usually a lack of anti-oxidant activity in the body. So, exercise, but get in a healthy dose of fruits and veges to keep the brain healthy and active.

 

3. Detox the Sugar


I know what you are thinking. How can you give up pastries, and donuts, or that wonderful, heaping scoop of sugar in your coffee? The truth is all processed sugars are TERRIBLE for you. ALL OF THEM. No splenda, sweet and low, equal, throw it all out! That stuff is made to keep you addicted. So when that addiction and need for sugar kicks in, we become sluggish, tired, and unproductive. I suggest starting out slow by replacing the processed crap for unprocessed sugars like honey, coconut palm sugar, turbinado sugar, or pure organic cane sugar. At least until you can successfully wean yourself off added sugars completely. (Don’t worry, I’m right there with you. Still struggling with ridding my life of sugar, but on the plus side, just getting rid of the processed crap makes a huge difference!)

 

4. Snack


Yes, you read that right. Have snacks. But NOT JUNK FOOD. (Put down the chips, it’s not worth it!) Pack almonds or cashews or any other nut that you like. Raw is best. Nuts are great for healthy fats that boost your energy levels. Grab fresh berries, apples, oranges, or a banana. If you don’t have a grain issue, eat a Kashi bar. (I also like Larabars, but I’m partial to the ones free from peanuts.) The point is, when you eat healthy snacks, it boosts your metabolism and fights off hunger induced fatigue which helps to keep you on task!

 

5. Me Time


This is an expansion on the daily ‘Pause’ from tip #1. My favorite productivity booster is monthly massage. Sitting at a computer, doing a lot of driving, and frankly being a massage therapist, are really tough on my body. I get a lot of tension and discomfort in my lower back, neck and shoulders. Often, the pain and discomfort keep me from being productive. But, when I allow myself the time to have all that tension worked out, I feel much better and find I’m able to accomplish so much more. But, combine that with yoga, acupuncture, and/ or chiropractic and I find myself procrastinating or avoiding my responsibilities less and less.
Now, allow me to share with you a lesser known truth. Me Time does not automatically mean alone time. If you’re extroverted, you’ll probably benefit from a night out with the guys or gals. Hit up a sporting event, concert, movie, get drinks (or coffee/ tea) at a local haunt. Me Time is really about doing things that you enjoy. It’s about forgetting that long list of to do’s in favor of fun and relaxation.

I promise to work harder on taking care of myself and this blog. Will you promise to take better care of you? What other things would you add to my list of procrastination killers?

I decided to go for a walk to my local all natural store for a snack. On my way back, a man on a bicycle was heading the opposite way on the side walk that I was walking on. As the man moved closer I moved my bag of snacks across my body and away from the man and the bike. I also happened to make eye contact with the man.

This week I’ve been extra tired. I know it’s my fault I’ve been getting less sleep, and I also know it’s starting to show on my face when my guard is down. I’ve often been told that my tired face, is a mean face. And sadly, that is probably the look that the man saw.

His face showed anger and sadness. I may not know for sure what he was thinking, but my guess is that he thought I was worried he’d grab the bag out of my hand.

This was not the case. What makes it more likely for him to believe the worst of me is that I am a very young looking, white female. He was an older gentleman of Hispanic origins. And right now, the United States is in a ‘race’ war.

What he doesn’t know, is that I moved my bag out of concern. In my mind, I pictured him accidentally getting too close to me on the sidewalk and my bag accidentally getting into the spokes of his bicycle wheel making him lose control of the bike and even possibly winding up helpless in the road. I moved the bag because I’m paranoid about safety and I worry over things most people would not even consider.

So what is the point of this little story? Well, I doubt I really need to tell you, but I will anyway. Don’t assume the worst of people simply because they are different. We all have moments where we are unguarded and that is the easiest time to mistake a persons true intent.

It is healthier to believe the best of people in these small moments. It stops us from feeling hurt unnecessarily.

The journey is long and takes us down many paths. Often, it leads us to unexpected places. When we allow ourselves the chance to let go, and follow our intuition, it can take us further than we thought possible.

To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science. -Albert Einstein

My journey has lead me to The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest. And what an eye opening experience that was. Considering that I’m already a member of the Holistic way of thinking, it is not strange for me to look for natural ways of dealing with dysfunction in the body. And besides, I’ve always believed in the bodies ability to heal itself.

Although I grew up with a nurse for a mother, and a father who worked a short time as an EMT, I was lucky enough that my mother believed in ‘doing what works.’  She has never been the type to dismiss something purely because it isn’t conventional. (Yet, these days she’s more afraid that I may never trust Western Medicine again.) Therefore, I grew up with this sense that open-mindedness is the key to truly understanding the world around me.

I still laugh that although my mother and her family were very religious, my mother ended up with a spiritualist and an atheist for children.  My sibling and I are on completely different wave-lengths and often disagree. He believes that I’ve lost my mind, and I worry that his fears are stifling his ability to be open to possibility. Funny, that he’s the scientist/ mathematician and I’m the artist/ healer. Yes, I still consider myself an artist. It takes a sense of creativity to complement the knowledge needed to perform an awesome healing experience. Therapy, without heart, just doesn’t feel right. And so I use the artist in me, to create treatments that are more specific to the individual needs of each client, while relying on my knowledge of muscle structure and fiber direction to guide me. And, it is this balance of the artist and therapist that helps to keep me well-rounded.

Being centered really just means that you have found the place from which you can emanate wisdom. Wisdom, is the ability to weigh and measure the things that come your way, without bias, to see the truth in-between the threads of life’s tapestry.  Wisdom does not judge. Because with wisdom we do not feel the need to prove anything. We may feel compelled to educate others about the truths that we have found, and we may do so with vigor and passion, but without anger or contempt for those who are not yet ready to hear certain truths. Months ago, I was not ready to absorb the information presented to me via Ty Bollinger and the crew at cancertruth.net or the doctors with which they interviewed. But, 10 years ago, I also would not have believed I’d be owning a small business and hiring on an employee just prior to my 4th year business anniversary. And so this post is merely a journey itself. This post, is to allow you to decide for yourself if you are ready to walk this path to enlightenment, or decide I’m just another crazy blogger.

Keep in mind though, that Chiropractic was condemned as quackery not too long ago and now is covered by medical insurance providers and is the major treatment for injuries sustained by automobile accidents. Not to mention that massage has long been considered a luxury treatment, yet many are turning to Massage Therapy to break-up scar tissue created from surgical incisions or injuries. Massage is even quickly becoming the #1 treatment for plantar fasciitis.

And if we are to believe that stress is the major cause of dysfunction in the body.[1] [2] Then alleviation of stress on a daily basis can go a long way toward preventing bodily dysfunction.  As well as maintaining a healthy and strong immune system.

So how do we do it?

Graphic courtesy of: allgoodprovisions.com

Graphic courtesy of: allgoodprovisions.com

EAT REAL FOOD. Do away with processed, packaged goods completely. Stay away from processed sugars, or any sugar that isn’t naturally derived. What is naturally derived? Apples, oranges, strawberries all have natural sugars.  But these are also delivered along side a dose of healthy fiber from the fruit itself helping the body to absorb and process these sugars properly.

Eat lots of green vegetables. Green vegetables carry important vitamins and minerals that help to strengthen the immune system. Don’t forget about other vegetables though. In fact, your best bet is to “eat the rainbow.” No, not skittles. Carrots, red cabbage, yellow peppers, kale, beets, bananas, blueberries, etc. See the graphic to the left? There is your inspiration. With so many fruits and vegetables to choose from, you should never go hungry and rarely get bored. So go to your local farmstand or organic market and get yourself a smorgasbord of good, clean, real food!

Find a balance between activity and rest. Yes, exercise is very important. But so is down time. Stretch before any work-out and schedule in massages, saunas, float treatments, acupuncture, etc. to flush your system of the cellular debris that occurs from working out.

Hydrate. And make it safe hydration by avoiding BPA laden plastics.  Want to make your water even healthier? Consider MRET water systems, or magnetically charged water. [3] Actually, there are many systems out there worth researching that will make your water healthier for you. Bottom line: You are mostly made up of water and your body needs it to survive.

Consider Supplements. I’m no doctor, and I don’t know enough about supplements to really tell anyone what to take. But, if you are concerned that you might be deficient, talk to your primary care, chiropractor, or ND about the correct way to supplement to benefit your health.

Educate yourself. If you’ve read my blogs, then you know I’m really big on telling people not to believe what you are told. Always, always fact check. And, follow your gut instinct. And please, check out cancertruth.net and on Facebook at CancerTruth to learn more about living a healthier life.

[1] Chronic Stress Causes Pathology in Humans -University of Toronto Study

[2] How Stress Induces Intestinal Hypersensitivity -US National Library of Medicine

[3] Water: The single most important element for your health -Dr. J. Mercola/ Dr. G. Pollack

Let’s talk Cupping for a change. Over the past year or so in the USA there has been a debate about the dangers and benefits of Cupping Therapy. With big name stars like Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow sporting their cupping marks, it’s been difficult NOT to hear about cupping. Many of my clients have begun to inquire about the modality and how safe it is as well as why someone might choose to cup instead of massage or acupuncture.

The marks on Gwyneth are considered healthy marks. These marks occur due to the intensity of the suction of each cup on the body bringing blood and cellular waste to the surface. The marks can be light red, dark red, purple, white, or in some cases you can find petechia, blistering, or purpura.

Although cases of petechia, blistering and purpura are rare, they do happen occasionally. Usually, this is sign of a more serious ailment, and your Therapist would recommend paying a visit to your primary care physician as a precaution.

The most common marks are of the light red and dark red variety. This signify healthy blood flow and circulation. A dark purple mark signifies stagnation in the body. Most practitioners of alternative therapy will call this a build-up of toxins. This is waste being drawn out at the cellular level. The cups pull waste from the cells and then as the marks fade, the body is working to flush the waste out of your system.

The final type of mark is a bright white mark. If you’re pail like me, likely you won’t see anything. In Chinese medicine they consider this the most dangerous and unhealthy mark as it means the area is not receiving blood flow. Blood is life. Blood is what carries nutrients to your tissues and moves the waste out. Therefore, an area that is not receiving blood is dying.

I’m sure you asking yourself; why do Gwyneth’s marks look brownish if that’s not one of the color options? Part of the reason is simply the way they were photographed. The other part is that marks fade. Unlike bruises which change color as they heal (blackish blue to yellow), cupping marks aren’t doing damage that needs to be healed. The marks fade as circulation moves the blood and waste from the area. Because of the way blood is moved through circulation versus the coloring of your skin, occasionally the marks seem to take on a brownish hue.

So, I know this ended up a little short, but in the end I was simply trying to properly introduce cupping by dispelling the most popular myth; that cupping leaves bruises. As I explained, cupping leaves marks that fade. These marks are a product of the suction of the cups and blood flow (or lack thereof).

For more on cupping, visit my website at http://www.5points.massagetherapy.com/cupping-therapy