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“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

Voltaire

This morning on a commercial break while watching the news I watched 3 back to back ads for over-the-counter pain medications. First off, I was baffled as to why they would play 3 different ads for the same product and secondly I was taken away by the fact that there are people out there take take OTC pain meds multiple times on a daily basis!

As soon as I could, I had to get to a computer and do some research and what I found was quite mind-blowing. Pain killers are the number one purchased OTC drug and many that are taking these pain killers are misusing them. In a study done by WebMD, it showed that ” nearly half of the 175 million adults who take over-the-counter pain relievers admit to exceeding the recommended dose, and few are aware of the potential risks.” The same research informs that “16,500 people die and 103,000 are hospitalized each year because of NSAID-related problems.”

over-the-counter pain killers can help manage but over time they do more bad than good.

over-the-counter pain killers can help manage but over time they do more bad than good.

Just like almost all medications that are ingested in pill form, they have to be processed by the liver and after time of continual use of the drugs, the liver can start having problems of it’s own. In addition, after repetitive use of drugs, the body adapts to the medication and more is require to achieve the same result. You can easily see how this is very unsafe and can potentially be fatal.

Low Back pain is at the top of the list for the needs of pain medications

Low Back pain is at the top of the list for the needs of pain medications

Now I’m not knocking pain medication all together, but there should be no real reason that you have to take it on a daily basis. After all, the medication only treats the symptoms not the cause. To really be effective you need to try and figure out the cause and then treat appropriately. In my experience as a massage therapist, I have found that many people are taking pain medications due to low back pain and severe headaches. In many of these cases these conditions are accompanied by poor posture. Without getting to in depth (I will save that for another BLOG), when the body starts loosing it’s correct posture, structures start to shift. Muscles on one side of the body become tight and on the other side of the body become overstretched. This in itself can cause significant and noticeable pain, but add to that when the muscular imbalance occurs that joints that were meant to move smoothly become compressed and dysfunctional. Blood vessels and nerves can become compressed if the postural alignment is to far from the norm.

Overuse and Misuse of OTC pain killers can cause serious Liver damage.

Overuse and Misuse of OTC pain killers can cause serious Liver damage.

You will read many articles that dispute the fact that there is no scientific research or proof that pain has anything to do with improper posture, but I say find out for yourself. Massage Therapy has been proven to relieve pain in the muscle fibers as well as alleviate headaches and help to restore posture, all with no real negative side effects. Ask any person who has received a massage if they felt better afterwards and if their pain was reduced and that should be proof enough that therapeutic massage is a better option than consistently over using OTC pain killers. It’s natural, it has been used for thousands of years, and it gets results!

“Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body. ”
Arnold Schwarzenegger

How many times have you caught yourself avoiding working out because you are too sore or are not getting the results that you are looking for with weight training due to the lack of that extra push? What if there was a way to get around those obstacles? Thereis a way – Therapeutic Massage!
Lactic acids build up in the muscles due to exercise leads to DOMS or delayed
onset muscle soreness, poor muscle fiber and joint movement, and difficulty in the healing of the muscles. Studies have shown that massage flushes the muscles of built up toxins, including lactic acid. Massage also loosens the muscle fibers increasing the joints’ range of motions; therefore, allowing the muscles to repair and increase in size and strength at an accelerated rate. Receiving regular therapeutic massage in conjunction with your normal workout routines will not only help the muscles heal faster, but also
significantly reduces pain and soreness. By having the ability for your muscles to recover and build strength faster, you are able to get back to training sooner and gain more of your desired results.
Studies have also shown that massage is also a great way to decrease blood
pressure and increase energy giving you a euphoric effect that will make working out more fun and more desirable. The best part of it all is that therapeutic massage is not targeted at one specific group. The benefits of therapeutic massage can be appreciated by everyone from the competing body builder to the semi-pro athlete to the everyday person trying to get back in shape and stay fit.

“I am very serious about no alcohol, no drugs. Life is too beautiful.”

 –Jim Carrey

 

    St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and there are several thing we think of when we think of this Irish holiday such as leprechauns, shamrocks,  and alcohol. I personally do not partake in alcohol at anytime and that’s my choice. For others, alcohol is a part of everyday life. When it comes to health and  wellness, I believe it is important that people should be aware of how alcohol can affect muscles and recovery.   

Alcohol is part of many cultures and societies of the world. Whether it’s celebrating holidays, relaxing after a long day of work, or just socializing with friends; many people like
to enjoy several “adult beverages” every so often.
    Many doctors and experts claim that having a drink a day, especially red wine, can have
positive effects on heart health. The biggest problem that many people face is that they don’t stop at one or two drinks;many people overindulge. Too much alcohol in the body
negatively affects the mind, body, and muscle recovery.
    Our bodies recognize alcohol as a toxin, the same as a low grade poison. The liver’s
job is to filter the blood of this harmful substance, but it can only do so at a slow rate. It
takes around an hour for our body to filter one “average” drink depending on size, sex,
race, & age. Any more than the allotted amount for the set time and damages start taking
place.
    According to studies from Montclair State University, alcohol impedes muscle growth
by diminishing protein synthesis and the production of Human Growth Hormone. Alcohol has also been shown to reduce Testosterone and ATP in the body. The above facts make it much more difficult for your muscles to heal and recover as well as providing essential
energy to get through the day.
    It’s important to be aware of these facts about alcohol to maintain health and wellness.
Remember that moderation is the key.

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“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain”

Aristotle

    Many Healthcare Professionals and even many people know that one of the best ways to
recover from injury is to avoid pain as well as manage inflammation. Most of the time to avoid pain we take a pill or some other sort of oral pain reliever. In truth, these are chemicals that wreak having on our digestive system and liver.To reduce inflammation we use ice packs that usually require us to stay immobile and increases the risk of frostbite
and nerve damage. In our fast paced lifestyles and in our attempt to stay healthy, what are we to do to get the healing benefits of Cold Therapy and Pain Relievers with out all the
side effects and limiters? A good answer is Biofreeze.
   Biofreeze is a topical analgesic that is made from a USP-grade natural menthol that
helps with pain relief as well as reduces inflammation. This type of product is great for use
to recover from an injury or to help subdue pain before deep therapeutic massage and even chiropractic care. After application, Biofreeze works as a counter-irritant which means
that it’s effect overrides noxious pain signals traveling to the brain through a process
modulated between paintransmitting and non-paintransmitting neurons which is
known as “gate control”.
    In my experience, both personal and professional, I have had great results with Biofreeze. It works fast and has lasting effects with very little “medicine cabinet smell.” I
highly recommend Biofreeze for recovery and pain management; both minor and
major traumas alike.

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“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”
– Tecumseh

So begins the “holiday season”, a time reserved to spread happiness, joy, and  give thanks to all the many great things we have in our lives.  Sometimes we get lost in  the  stress of the holidays and the expectations of others as to what the  holiday season really means.

I’d like to take this moment to pass on some thoughts that have helped keep me grounded and things that mean the most and that I can  be thankful for in this world.

(I preface this list with a reminder that I am not a psychologist or any type of therapist. These are things that help me and have been passed down by people who I consider to be quite wise. They help me and perhaps they will help you too! )

  1. My grandfather reads through the obituaries in the newspaper everyday and when you ask him why, he will  respond with “just making sure my name isn’t in here, means I’m still alive!” What I take from this is that life is important and  worth living, cherish it and make the best of the time you have here!
  2. It’s not always getting the best, but making the best of what you’ve got! Be appreciative of what you have already, there are many out there who have much less.
  3. Life is tough and can’t be handled alone and that is why you have family and friends. No matter what you may think, some one will always  be there for you and in my opinion that is something that can’t be appreciated enough!

All though the world may be a crazy place and can seem that there is not much to be thankful for,  think about the concepts I  spoke about above…there  is always something for which you can  be thankful.

Here’s wishing you a very healthy and happy thanksgiving to  you  and  yours!

“Without health life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering – an image of death.”
Buddha 

I often talk about how therapeutic massage can help benefit the body by helping to remove metabolic wastes and stimulating the immune system which in turn allows the body to  function better. Now what if there was a  way for you to boost all those benefits even more, would you? A natural approach to doing just that is the addition of proper vitamins,  minerals, and other supplements into your regiment.

Vitamins and Minerals occur naturally in our foods, but due to our hectic lifestyles and by not always making the right decisions with our food choices, we don’t always get the appropriate amounts that we need. Vitamins and Minerals are essential for our bodies to function properly and at optimal levels. A lack of these nutrients, or deficiencies,  can compromise the way our bodies work as well as our overall health and wellness.

What are the correct nutritional supplements that  you should be taking? That  question usually plagues us all,  but there many sources online and in our communities that  can point us in the right direction.  Companies like Nutrilite  have been around for years and not only offer high quality vitamins and minerals, but also provide representatives who are well educated and can help you make the right decisions when choosing the right supplements.

I personally like to become as well versed as I can when it comes to what vitamins and minerals do what  for the body so that not only can I become healthier, but I can suggest to my massage clients what might be good choices to help with their recovery, improve their immune system,  and optimize their over all health.

    On my radio show,  Healthy U, tomorrow (Saturday October 20th, 2012) I  will be chatting with one of my local Nutrilite representatives, JD Porcelli. We will be chatting about vitamins,  minerals, and other supplements that can boost energy and help with recovery from  workouts  and other strenuous activities. If you are  interested and would like to learn more about what supplements could help you and how to easily get a hold of them, be sure to listen in from 2-4PM EST on www.kinetichifi.com.

Let’s take a look back at my adventures at the ’08 Olympics

I have been wanting to do a Phlog (Photo Blog) for quite a while now, but could not decide what topic to choose. After watching the Olympic Games for almost a week now, it has got me reminiscing. I have been looking at photos that I have taken or had taken when I had the  opportunity to work at the ’08 Olympics in Beijing with the US Women’s  National Soccer Team. I have hundreds of pictures but have decided to share the ones I believe are the best,  so please enjoy!

And It all begins with a trip to Tiananmen Square

The team at the Forbidden City

A stroll through the Emperor’s Garden

Now for a trip to the Great Wall…This sign stood high like the Hollywood sign in California

Me and “the guys” trekking the Great Wall…much harder than you think!

Don’t worry, you can get perked up after you scale the Great Wall with the Starbucks that is conveniently located there!

After travel from Beijing to Qinquandao (our first venue) for round robin play, welcome to my office!

One more trip to the Great Wall before the games start, this is the beginning of the Wall also known as the “Dragon’s Head”.

Time to get the games underway! Our first game vs. Norway was an unfortunate loss, but we still ended up winning the group and moved on to the quarterfinals…time for more travel!

Welcome to Shanghai for our quarterfinal game vs. Canada. This shot was from my hotel room!

Prepping midfielder, Angela Hucles for her big game in this do or die situation!

After an almost 2 hour rain delay, we came out on top in a 2-1 victory over Canada…on the the semifinals back in Beijing!

Back in Beijing, we have to get some good workouts in for out Semifinal game…

Pregame prep for some of the players…

We beat Japan 4-2 in the semifinal match, so Kobe wanted to come by and congratulate the team! On to the Olympic Village and the Final match vs. Brazil!

Welcome to the Olympic Village!

My Co-worker and fellow massage therapist, Mark Higgins stopping in the Flag Garden at the Olympic Village

Pregame prep with Mark as we get Heather Mitts and Lindsey Tarpley ready for their big final game!

Pep talk before the final game vs.Brazil

Me and Mark enjoying the game vs. Brazil from the stands with our fellow fans!

In overtime, Carli Lloyd scored the only goal of the game!

It was a long hard fought journey, but we won gold!

Congratulations Coach Pia on a job well done!

Our moms just won Olympic Gold! When do we get to go to Disney?

Meet the team behind the team…all the US WNT staff and coaches that helped the ladies win gold!

A very proud moment in my life…I am very honored to have helped Team USA!

Flowers for the winners!

A beautiful sight in the locker room!

Celebrating with forward, Natasha Kai!

A shot with the game VIPs, Goalie Hope Solo and Midfielder Carli Lloyd!

The day after, I got to do some sight seeing starting at “The Cube”.

Then a stop at the “Bird’s Nest”

Is this how you get inside to see the action?

The famous Olympic Torch!

I just had to try and hold the torch…it may be the closest I will ever get to holding it!

The team is ready for the Closing Ceremonies!

On the way into the Closing Ceremonies, the Olympic Tower looks amazing!

The celebration begins!

A view from where we sit inside the Closing Ceremonies! Yes…It was REALLY HOT in there!

The festivities continue!

One last look at the torch before it moves on to London in 2012

The torch has been passed and the games are finished! Good Bye Beijing and thanks for some great memories!

This was an amazing experience for me and I would just like to wish the best of luck to all the participants  in the 2012 London Olympic Games!