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Benefits of Massage Therapy

For more than 120 years, experts have been researching the benefits of massage therapy, and besides the obvious stress-free feeling that people have following a massage, there are plenty of other benefits to this ancient healing procedure.

Massage therapy benefits

One major benefit of massage therapy that researchers have found is that people who get massages on a regular basis have noticed a decrease in their blood pressure.

Massages also help to alleviate the pain of those who suffer from migraine headaches.

Massage can also: reduce your heart rate, increase blood circulation and lymph flow, relax your muscles, improve your range of motion, and increase endorphins.

Research has also shown that while massage therapy does not increase your muscle strength, it can stimulate your weak and inactive muscles and can thereby aid muscles that you may not have worked out in quite some time.  

Some other physical benefits of massage therapy include relieving muscle tension and stiffness, alleviating discomfort during pregnancy, reducing

muscle spasms, promoting deeper and easier breathing, enhancing the health and nourishment of your skin, and improving your posture.

Massage therapy, while a physical act, is not all about physical benefits.  There are plenty of mental benefits that having a massage can give you. Some of these mental benefits include promoting mental alertness, relieving mental stress, reducing levels of anxiety, improving motor skills, creating   body awareness, and fostering a feeling of well-being.

While this article only touches on a few benefits of massage therapy, both physical and mental, there are plenty more out there that researchers are learning about each day.

So, whatever your reason may be, pamper yourself today and reap all the benefits of a great massage.

With Spring Comes Hay Fever

Spring is finally here! After a long and cold winter, everyone is in their glory with the sunshine and warm weather.

However, coming together with the blooming season is some people's dreaded seasonal nightmare: hay fever.

Hay Fever Prevention

One of the best plans of action for fighting spring allergies is to avoid the things that make your sneezing, itching and watering eyes worse.  Warren V. Filley, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, recently told www.health.com which plants you should avoid.

  • Ragweed : It is common along riverbanks and in rural areas. Dr. Filley says that almost 75 percent of people with allergies are sensitive to ragweed.
  • Maple : These trees are found along streams and in woods all through the eastern United States and Canada. The maple produces potent allergens.
  • Elm : Common in the wetlands, these trees will most likely aggravate your allergies. 
  • Mulberry : This pretty tree can be very deceiving. Found in woods and river valleys, it is often associated with contributing to hay fever.
  • Pecan : Although it makes many good desserts, the pollen from pecan : found in woods and orchards : is second only to ragweed as the most severe source of allergens. 
  • Oak : It may have less potent pollen, but it produces very large quantities of it, Dr. Filley says. Avoid the woods just for this one.

Lowering Your Blood Pressure through Diet

According to a recent study done by the American Heart Association, one in three adults suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure.  While many people are prescribed medication to help reduce their blood pressure, nutritionists say that simply by eating your fruits and vegetables that you can help reduce your blood pressure naturally.

Eating Healthy - Lower Your Blood Pressure

Fruits and vegetables are chock full of great vitamins and nutrients that will help to lower your blood pressure, and combined with medication and exercise you will be back on the healthy track.

Physicians recommend 4 to 5 servings of vegetables per day and 2 to 3 servings of fruit per day.

The following are some great blood pressure lowering options:

Vegetables: swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and lettuce.

Fruits: citrus fruits, bananas, and apples.

While all fruits and vegetables are good for you, the above contain the appropriate amounts of the right vitamins and nutrients that when added to your regular diet will equal out to a heart-supportive diet.

By simply making some small changes to your every day eating and making sure to get the appropriate number of foods and vegetables in your daily diet, you will see your blood pressure numbers gradually decreasing.

What the “Toes” Know

As odd as it may seem, your feet may be the window to your overall body health. Here are some things to look for regarding your feet that will give you clues that there may be other important body issues to look into.

Toes, Signs and Symptoms

Thick, yellow toenails -

Toenails are not supposed to be thick and/or yellow.  Thick, yellow nails are most often an indication of a fungal infection living beneath your toenails.  People that have other medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other immune deficiencies are more likely to get a fungal infection than those that do not have these conditions.  To treat thick, yellow toenails, you will need to consult a podiatrist.  While there are plenty of over-the-counter treatments for thick, yellow toenails, by the time your nails are already discolored and thick it is too late for any over-the-counter creams or medicines to work. You must discuss your options with a professional.

No hair on your feet or toes :

If your feet or toes are lacking hair, it can be a sign of having poor circulation because of vascular disease.  If you notice that your feet and toes do not have any hair on them, you will want to consult your doctor to find out ways to improve your circulation thereby reducing your risk of acquiring vascular disease.

A wound that won't heal on your foot : Wounds on your feet that just won't heal could be an indication of diabetes.  Over time, elevated blood glucose levels can lead to serious nerve damage in your feet and because of this damage you may not feel when you have a sore or a wound on your foot.  If your wound continues to go unhealed there could be major problems, including amputation.  If you notice a wound that won't heal on your feet be sure to contact your doctor to discuss your wound.  If you are currently living with or being treated for diabetes, be sure to check your feet often and mark any changes.