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For more than 125 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.

 

 

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. 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 wellbeing. 

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 every day. 

So, go pamper yourself!

This month, we offer you this “March Madness-inspired” workout challenge. These exercises are inspired by all the full body moves that basketball players use while on the court. Can you keep up? You will need a cones, a kettle bell and a medicine ball.

 

 

Down and Back - Place two cones about 12-15 feet apart. Start by standing behind one cone as you face the other. As quickly as possible, sprint to the second cone. Once you’ve reached the second cone, quickly backpedal, returning to starting position. Continue moving as quickly as possible between cones. 2-3 sets, 6-8 reps.

Rotating Power Slams - Stand with feet hip-width apart and rise onto toes, holding medicine ball with both hands overhead, arms fully extended.  Shift hips down and back, bending knees as you explosively slam medicine ball into the ground outside of the left foot, rotating the torso. Allow ball to bounce back into hands and repeat sequence to opposite side. 2-3 sets, 6-8 per side. 

Cross-Body Lunge - Stand holding medicine ball overhead with arms extended. Step out to the left 

foot to perform a lateral lunge, sitting hips back and bending left knee, keeping ball in front of chest. Press off left foot and step it across the body in front of right foot, performing a forward lunge at a 45-degree angle, extending arms and medicine ball out in front of the body at shoulder height. Return to starting position and repeat sequence. 2-3 sets, 8-10 per side.

Alternating Single Arm Swings - Stand with feet hip-width apart and grasp handle of kettlebell in right hand using an overhand grip. Hinge at the hips as you draw the kettlebell back between the legs. Thrust hips forward, generating power from lower body to raise the kettlebell to shoulder height. Once at shoulder height, release the kettlebell momentarily mid-air to switch hands, so the kettlebell is now in the left hand. Continue alternating hands. 2-3 sets, 8-10 per arm.

Unstable Mountain Climbers - Position a medicine ball directly below chest and place hands on top of the ball. Extend legs with toes on floor, assuming a plank position. Keeping core engaged, draw right knee into chest. With control, quickly switch sides, stepping back with right foot while drawing left knee into chest. Continue alternating sides. 2-3 sets, 6-8 per leg.

  • The vitamin K in spinach provides 200% of the daily value in fresh spinach and nearly 1000% of the daily value in boiled spinach.
  • Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, folate and magnesium.
  • Cooked spinach is a great source of iron and is totally fat free.

 

Recipe: Wilted Spinach Salad

  • 10 to 12 ounces spinach, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped and 1 sliced
  • 2 to 4 slices bacon
  • 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper 

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes. Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.

 

Recipe:  Spinach Lasagna

  • 2 egg whites
  • 26 oz of prepared spaghetti sauce
  • 24 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz of Lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped, then squeezed dry
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated, reserve ½ cup
  • ¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated and divided, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • Olive oil 

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9x13 dish. Cook lasagna noodles as directed on the package, then rinse and drain. Combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheeses with the egg whites, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out using a spatula. Cover the sauce with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about half the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then cover with about half of the spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish this layer with half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, topping with the remaining cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of noodles and remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes

Everyone wants to find the Fountain of Youth and keep their skin looking fresh, healthy, and clear of blemishes. 

Since there is no magical fountain, the best way to keep your skin looking clearer health experts suggest  is by   watching what you eat. What we eat effects our skin more than we realize, so here are a few foods to avoid and/or give up entirely for that youthful glow. 

  • French Fries
  • Fried Chicken
  • Processed pastries
  • White Bread
  • Packaged sweets
  • Pasta

(continued from Part I…)

What are the risk factors?

  • Age - the most vulnerable are children below 2 years and adults above 65 years.
  • Hospitalized in intensive care unit and if on support of ventilator for a prolonged period.
  • Lung diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can increase the risk.
  • Poor immune system - persons with weak immune system due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Cancer or undergone organ transplants. 

How is pneumonia diagnosed? 

Diagnosis is done by reviewing medical history, physical examination, and lab tests to confirm the condition.

What tests and procedures are typically run on someone who may have pneumonia?

X-ray: Chest X-ray is taken to check the presence of infection.

Blood culture: To check the presence of infection and identify the causative organism.

Sputum culture test: To confirm the cause of infection.

Urine test: Bacterial infection of streptococcus pneumonia and legionella pneumoniphila can be identified.

Pulse oximetry: To measure oxygen flow to the lungs.

CT scan: CT scan of chest is performed to detect the severity of infection.

Bronchoscopy: A camera fitted tube is inserted into the lungs to look into the airways and to sample out via bronchial wash helping in diagnosing the causative agent. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of pneumonia, please seek medical attention. Pneumonia can be fatal if left untreated.