Category Archives: Wellness

Health and wealth

Revamp Your Health

Health and wealth

Health is Wealth. This is such a simple yet powerful statement that I believe in wholeheartedly. Without good health, you are unable to function at your best. How does one define health anyway? I think the World Health Organization (WHO), defines health beautifully. It is a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Based on this definition, being healthy translates to maintaining a healthy lifestyle through achieving a positive mental, emotional and of course, physical well being.
Taking these factors into consideration, I have put together some simple tips to guide you on your journey to achieving a healthy lifestyle.

1. Maintain a healthy diet: You really are what you eat. If you’re fueling your body with junk, you are increasing your chances of becoming susceptible to chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease. Make sure to consume a balanced diet -which means a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, adequate in protein, fat, carbohydrates, and calories, and moderate in amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, salt and alcohol.

2. Maintain a healthy weight: If your Body Mass Index (BMI) indicates that you are in the overweight or obese category, aim to lose weight slowly and steadily until you are at a healthy weight. Also, if you are underweight, strive to gain weight gradually, until you are within an Ideal Body Weight range. Contact a Registered Dietitian in your area who can develop an appropriate meal plan for you.

3. Get moving!: Physical activity has a lot of benefits that include stress reduction, weight maintenance, and improved cardiovascular function to name a few. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average adult needs 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week AND muscle strengthening activities 2 days a week that focus on the major muscle groups i.e. chest, legs, and arms.

4. Sleep tight: The National Sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Not getting enough sleep can increase your vulnerability to illnesses such as the cold and flu, as a result of a weakened immune system. Also, the body goes into a state of stress when it is sleep deficient which causes production of stress hormones, and an increase in blood pressure. Getting enough snooze time will help you stay healthy, and sane.

5. Stay hydrated: Studies have produced varying recommendations of fluid intake. However this depends on a host of factors such as health, climate, and age . According to The Institute of Medicine (IOM), a healthy adult male residing in a temperate climate needs about 13 (8 oz) cups of total beverages a day, while women only need about 9 (8 oz) cups of total beverages a day. Make at least half of your beverage consumption, water. Lack of water can cause dehydration which can lead to lethargy and even shock.

6. Manage stress: Stress is akin to poison, it can literally kill! Manage your stress by setting realistic work deadlines, spending time with people you love, engaging in activities or hobbies you enjoy, and most importantly making time for yourself to just relax.

Sleep Tight!

sleep

Although sleep is a necessity of life, most individuals do not get adequate amounts of snooze time. Not getting enough sleep has both short-term and long-term consequences. For example, inadequate amounts of sleep can impair your judgment; affect your mood, and can put you at an increased risk of contracting colds. The National Sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults.

The relationship between sleep and certain health conditions:

  1. Getting less than the recommended amount of sleep per night can lead to impaired glucose tolerance which is a precursor to developing diabetes.
  2. Long term sleep deprivation causes an inflammatory response in the cardiovascular system which can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
  3. Insufficient sleep leaves you vulnerable to illnesses such as the cold and flu, as a result of a weakened immune system.
  4. Hormonal imbalances as a result of sleep deprivation can lead to obesity. The proposed mechanism of action is that it lowers levels of leptin, a hormone that promotes satiety.
  5. The body goes into a state of stress when it is sleep deficient which causes production of stress hormones, and an increase in blood pressure.

Tips for getting adequate sleep:

  1. Create a dark,  quiet and relaxed sleeping space.
  2. Set a routine, and ensure that you go to bed and rise around the same time each day.
  3. Avoid large meals before bedtime.
  4. Make sure your bedroom is free of distractions such as the TV.
  5. Engage in regular physical activity, which can promote better sleep. However, do not exercise too close to bedtime.
  6. Nap smartly as this can interfere with night-time sleep. If you must nap, try to nap earlier in the day, and limit naps to 30 minutes.

Why You Should Say “YES” To That Massage

Stone Massage

I am a big advocate of getting regular massages mainly because its health benefits are extensive and varied. It is one of the oldest healing arts, and archaeological evidence of its early existence has been discovered in many ancient civilizations such as India, China, Greece and Egypt.

There are different massage styles to choose from based on your personal needs and goals. Each style has its own unique technique and pressure intensities. However, they all involve the manipulation of muscles and soft tissues while using techniques such as kneading, compression, vibration, rocking, tapping and stroking.

Getting Started

Since there are many styles to choose from, you must first determine what you hope to gain from the massage session. Are you suffering from chronic pain and would like to achieve symptom relief? Or are you simply looking to relax or to relieve stress? Once you have decided on what your needs and goals are, you will need to look for a certified massage therapist. Before booking your appointment, communicate your needs to your therapist, and he/ she will often recommend a particular massage type based on the information given. Your massage may also be customized further depending on any other underlying medical condition you have, or to reap added benefits.

Although there are reportedly over 100 types of massage styles, the following are the most popular.

Swedish Massage:

This is the most popular of all the massage therapies. It involves the use of soft, kneading strokes, tapping strokes and circular pressure, applied to promote relaxation by relieving muscle tension. It is also beneficial for decreasing muscle toxins, while improving circulation and flexibility.

Deep Tissue Massage:

This massage style is similar to the Swedish massage. However it involves deliberate strokes which create targeted pressure on layers of muscles and deep tissue beneath your skin. This massage type is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension and is recommended for those who either have chronic pain conditions, or are involved in intense physical activity ex. athletes.

Hot Stone Massage:

Hot stone massage therapy involves the placement of warm stones on key areas of the body. It is typically combined with other massage styles for added benefits. The hot stones promote deeper muscle relaxation and eases muscle tension via the expansion of blood vessels, which increases blood flow throughout the body. It also increases flexibility in joints and relieves pain associated with stiff muscles.

Thai Massage:

Thai massage is a combination of yoga, acupressure and reflexology. In this type of massage therapy the client lays on the floor in comfortable clothing, while the therapist uses his or her body to yield the client into numerous positions. It includes rhythmic pressing and stretching of the entire body, as well as joint mobilization and muscle compression. During a Thai massage, it is considered normal practice for the therapist to walk on the recipient’s back.

Benefits:

Studies on the benefits of massage therapy have demonstrated its effectiveness in the following areas: 

  • Management of stress and anxiety
  • Relief of fibromyalgia and nerve related pain
  • Reduction of muscle tension
  • Relief of sore muscles
  • Improved joint mobility
  • Headache and migraine relief
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Improved sleep

Massage therapy is increasingly offered along with standard traditional treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. With all its numerous benefits, one should consider scheduling a few sessions in a year as it is an investment in overall health and wellness.