Category Archives: Anti-aging

It’s Getting Hot in Here.. ;)

When many of us think of things we can do to help our bodies be in optimal health, we think of eating healthy, exercising, staying hydrated and sanitizing our hands on a consistent basis. I’m sure many of us wouldn’t initially think of utilizing saunas to aid in our overall well-being. Well, saunas have many beneficial properties, and there are many types of saunas that are specifically constructed for many purposes that promote a healthier mind, body and spirit.

Many of us may be familiar with what a particular sauna looks like, but do we really know how beneficial they can be for us? Before I list the different kinds of saunas, here are but a few benefits from Top 11 Healthful Benefits of Sauna (n.d.) of why we should incorporate the use of saunas in our lives:

  1. FLUSHES TOXINS. We are all exposed to toxins around us-whether they be from the foods we eat or environmental elements. With that being said, we should do our best to purge our bodies from these toxins and sitting in a sauna is a great way to do that! The heat from the saunas open up our pores and activate our sweat glands that cause us to sweat a great deal. Because sweating in a sauna is a deeper kind of sweating, we are able to eliminate heavy metals in the body like copper, zinc, nickel and mercury.
  2. CAN HELP FIGHT AND PREVENT ILLNESSES. Because of the heat from the high temperatures, we are not only sweating out toxins, we are also killing harmful bacteria that is in and on our body. This is why it is important to take a cool or cold shower after leaving a sauna in order to close the pores to prevent other toxins from getting back into the body. You add eucalyptus or other essential oils to the water so when the steam forms, it helps clear symptoms of illnesses like sinus infections or congestions.
  3. CAN IMPROVE CARDIOVASCULAR PERFORMANCE. Although using saunas is very calming, it can increase your heart rate to a rate that is similar to what it would be if your engaged in aerobic exercises. With your heart rate increasing at a healthy rate, more blood is being pumped into the body. Regular use of a sauna can also aid in reducing high blood pressure because of the increased blood circulation and release of endorphins due to the calming feeling we get when in a sauna.
  4. AIDS IN PHYSICAL RECOVERY. After an intense workout, it is great to detox in a sauna afterwards. Blood circulation is increased, toxins are being eliminated from the body and we are more relaxed and calmer in a sauna-all helpful factors that aid in physical recovery. Saunas aid in relaxing the muscles and reducing soreness and inflammation, and can give us a tranquilizing feeling when we’re wrapped in its warmth. Also, growth hormone increases tremendously, which aids in reducing muscle atrophy after a strenuous workout.
  5. HELPS BURN CALORIES. Even though you are only sitting or laying down in a sauna, you still sweat quite a bit. Whenever we sweat, we are using energy, as well as accelerating our heart rate, which causes us to burn calories. Use of a sauna will not necessarily make you lose weight, but it could certainly help with shedding additional calories after a good workout.
  6. CLEANSES THE SKIN. With the increased deep sweating you get from being in a sauna, it cleanses the skin from toxins in the epidermis and allows the dead skin cells to be replaced. This creates smoother, clearer skin and can give you a natural glow because those toxins have been sweated out of the body.
  7. RELIEVES STRESS. As previously stated, being in a sauna is like being wrapped up in a warm, calming blanket. When eliminating the toxins in the body, it not only cleanses the body but also helps clear the mind. Endorphins are released and it helps restore your mind and body to its more optimal health. Adding calming essential oils, like lavender, eucalyptus or chamomile can also help reduce stress in the mind and body. 
  8. CAN AID IN A DEEPER SLEEP. Not only do saunas help reduce stress, but they also promote a deeper sleep. Since saunas increase your level of relaxation, your mind and body are put at ease. They prepare the body to wind down for the day/night which aids in a more restful, deeper sleep. Many people who used saunas on a regular basis reported having deeper, quality sleep.
  9. CAN BE USED FOR RECREATIONAL/SOCIAL PURPOSES. Going to a sauna alone is the norm at times, but it can also be a fun and relaxing social activity that you can do on with friends. It is a quiet environment that allows you to have more intimate, mindful conversations with old friends or new friends that you meet there. Since endorphins are released when you are enjoying the sauna, you are more likely to be more open to meet others and have nice, quiet conversations.
  10. CAN BE CONVENIENT. Saunas can be found at your local gyms, spas and wellness centers, and can even be built into our homes. They also have foldable, portable saunas that are relatively inexpensive, so you can take it with you when you travel for work or when you go on vacation! I know I will be getting a portable sauna in my home soon!

 

 

Once again, these are but a few benefits of why you should start using a sauna on a consistent basis. Here are a few types of saunas that were built for specific purposes from “Different Types of Saunas” (2017):

TRADITIONAL FINNISH SAUNA: This traditional sauna is lined with wooden slats 

and consists of benches, heated rocks, a bucket of water and a ladle. The humidity in the sauna is controlled by adding water to the heated rocks. 

DRY SAUNA: This type of sauna can be found in some of your local gyms. A dry sauna is similar to the Tradition Finnish Sauna because it also has heated rocks, but there’s no bucket of water or ladle present. 

STEAM BATH: This sealed sauna is built with glass, acrylic or tiles with a low temperature and 100% humidity, which makes it feel hotter inside than it really is.

INFRARED SAUNA: This sauna is very different from the other three due to the fact that there is no humidity. You are basically sealed in a heat glove which warms up your body temperature. 

So as you can see, saunas can be a very effective way to promote our optimal health and well-being. They can be found in some of our local gyms, at spas and wellness centers, and even in some of our own homes. Also, since we are detoxing and sweating whenever we sit in a sauna, it is important to properly hydrate in order to replenish the body with the water that was just lost. Hopefully we are all now more aware of the many helpful ways a sauna can aid in our health and go out to find our local sauna in order to incorporate it into our lives. 

References

“Different Types of Saunas.” (25 Sept. 2017). Retrieved October 11, 2019. 

https://www.sunplumbing.com/different-types-of-saunas/.

Finnleo. (n.d.). Top 11 Healthful Benefits of Sauna. Retrieved October 11, 2019, from 

https://www.finnleo.com/pages/health-and-wellness.

Massages… Ooh la la

In honor of Everybody Deserves A Massage week, I’ve been browsing my options at the local spas and you should too! I have a strong relationship with any form of massage. For years, I treated myself to a massage on my birthday; then four years ago I began studying Traditional Chinese Medicine bodywork for animals. Yes, that is a thing. If you read my last blog post about horses, you may have picked up on that. I am a practitioner of small animal acupressure, to be exact. I’ve always loved getting massages for myself, but after studying bodywork through an acupressure scope, I had a renewed appreciation for all bodywork healers. There are a wide range of the types of massage you can get, but I am going to focus on some of the benefits of receiving any massage.

One of the most obvious benefits of getting a massage is relieving physical pain. We put a lot on our bodies, often with little rest. Without the proper restime and nutrition, the body has difficulty repairing the damage we do on a daily basis. I don’t know a single person who has never felt a knot in their muscles somewhere on their body. What exactly are those knots? We think of them as our muscles as being tied up tightly together. They are actually patches or bands of connective tissue, often called myofascial trigger points, that have become clenched or irritated. The tightness and inflammation that comes along with these knots can cause an incredible amount of pain. If you’re reading this and have never felt a knot in your back or shoulders, I’d love to know how you live! The physical discomfort that comes along with these myofascial patches can lead to a number of other issues, like limiting our range of motion, lack of sleep, pain in other parts of the body (headaches), and even affect our mood. By applying the appropriate amount of healing touch to those troubled areas, we can help loosen those tight fibers and relax the muscles. 

To repeat myself, I’d love to meet the person who has never felt an ounce of stress in their life. In today’s society, we live in large communities and cities, where we are surrounded by so much energy. All of this energy, including the pressures of social media and the fast paced lifestyles that we put ourselves through, play a big role in the amount of stress and anxiety that falls so heavily into our minds. Stress, anxiety, and panic attacks can make us feel like life is falling apart. Stress can cause a lot more than emotional pain, however. Everything in the body is interconnected, so emotional stress can lead to headaches, muscular tension (see above paragraph), and even digestive issues. When we take the time to disconnect from the outside world, and spend time with ourselves during a massage, we can really clear our minds. There is a big push for self love these days, and I am all for it! In my personal experience, when I am feeling happier, relaxed, and more confident I am far more inclined to pay it forward to others. We create our happiness, right? So, we might as well start with a relaxing massage.

A less than obvious benefit of bodywork and massage is helping our bodies heal from injury or surgery. While, I would never recommend massaging directly on an injury or surgical location, healing touch is a great way to encourage circulation in the body. When the body is experiencing a trauma of any kind, it reacts with inflammation in that area. By stimulating the energetic pathways above and below the affected area, we prompt the body to bring vital fluids to that area to help heal. Likewise, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, these pathways (meridians) flow throughout the entire body; so a trigger point on your arm can help clear heat and inflammation from any part of the body. The human body is a pretty incredible interconnected machine in that way. Furthermore, you don’t need to have an injury or surgical trauma to benefit from this healing aspect. By massaging the whole body, we can incite better circulation throughout the whole system. Better circulation can lead to proper delivery of nutrients to our muscles and organ systems. When we feel good physically, we feel good emotionally.

In 2013, I began suffering from debilitating migraines. For those of you who have never felt a migraine, it can be worse with sounds or with light. Mine are light sensitive. Symptoms of migraines include (but are not limited to) pounding headaches behind one or both eyes, nausea, vomiting, obscured vision, and what is called aura experiences. Lucky me, my migraines were with aura. In other words, my senses were often obscured. My vision often felt like constant vertigo, but in a horizontal direction. People and objects appeared to be really up close or really far away from me. It was as if someone was adjusting the zoom lens on my eyes. Other sensory issues I felt were with my taste and touch. Some foods tasted very weird and different to me, and my hands would often feel gigantic. My acupuncturist at the time explained to me that headaches and migraines are often viewed as a stagnation of energy in the body. That stagnation can cause tension, leading to a headache, and even physical pain. Of course, the stress that can also come with having a headache does not benefit the situation. Receiving a massage can help move the stagnant energy along, and relieve one from headaches and migraines.

I’ve already stated that massage can lead to improved circulation in the body, and I’m going to say it again. Massage can lead to improved circulation in the body. This circulation of energy can help strengthen the immune system. By assisting in the flow of energy and vital fluids throughout the body, we can help provide our organ systems with everything they need to function properly. When our organ systems are working together to keep us moving at full capacity, it strengthens our immunity. Strengthening our bodies does not just happen by building muscle. While physical activity works wonders for the body, we also need to provide it with nutrients and healing touch to create and maintain balance. Everything in our body is interconnected. Our physical, emotional, and mental health all work together. 

When one aspect of our health is compromised or imbalanced, it can affect other areas of our bodies. This is no different for our fur babies. This is where my specialty comes into play. I have a background in nutrition, so I often try to integrate a pet’s diet into my acupressure sessions. Sometimes imbalances or health issues can be linked to food and environmental sensitivities. I found out that my migraines were associated with a wheat and gluten sensitivity. If you think that you or your pets (dogs, cats, or horses) are suffering from a food or environmental intolerance, we can test a hair sample to help you narrow down the cause. 

In addition to using our test to find out what may be causing symptoms, you could also look into body work to help balance out the body. Human massage therapists are much easier to find for yourself, but what about your pets? If you’re in the Atlanta area, I work at a dog daycare and grooming facility called The Clean Dog, Inc. We have two locations in Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park. At our newly renovation Inman Park location, I will be practicing acupressure for dogs and cats. It is something worth checking out (for the sake of your four legged loved ones) whether you’re in Atlanta or not. You could probably be able to find practitioners in your area online.

I hope you treat yourselves and loved ones to a massage, because every body deserves one!

Your Body’s Nutritional Needs

In today’s day and age, we are surrounded by fast food and other quick and easy conveniences that we indulge in from time to time. That being said, many of us still try to incorporate better eating habits when we have the time to or when we need a dietary change. But do you know exactly what your body really needs? Do you know what nutrients your body may be craving? In Dr. Ross White’s article entitled “7 Essential Nutrients Your Body Needs”, he talks about the seven vital nutrients all of our bodies need in order to maintain healthy bodily functions. These seven essential nutrients include water, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.

WATER

Our body is made up of up to 60% water which, when properly consumed daily, helps improve your skin and overall health by regulating your body’s functions. In order to know how much water you should consume, take both your weight and activity level into consideration. There are several water intake calculators that will assist you in finding that amount. If you do not like drinking water daily, be sure to eat foods that contain high water contents like fruits and vegetables.

CARBOHYDRATES

Unfortunately, many of us overindulge on our carbohydrates when we eat a lot of bread, pasta or other foods that break down into sugar. However, if we create a balanced diet of good carbohydrates, it could be beneficial to our eating habits. Carbs allow our bodies to feel fuller, which would help us cut down on unhealthy snacking around meals. You can create a balanced diet of carbs by eating whole grains, fruits and veggies.

PROTEIN

Proteins are essential to our bodies because it builds muscles that create hormones and new enzymes that we need. Of course meat contains a lot of protein but if you do not eat meat then be sure to substitute it with foods like eggs, dairy, beans or other foods that are high in protein so your body is getting the proper amount that it needs.

FAT

Even though many of us think of fat in our bodies as being a negative thing, healthy fats are important to have. Healthy fats help protect our bodies’ organs and absorb vitamins. You want to be sure to limit the amount of trans fat from foods like potato chips, and instead eat foods with unsaturated fats like avocados, nuts and salmon.

VITAMINS

The essential vitamins your body needs consist of vitamins A, C, D, E and B vitamins. These vitamins aid in bone growth and immune health, benefits your skin and eyes, and helps improve bone and muscle structure. Some of these vitamins can be found in foods like citrus fruits and dairy products or taken in supplements like vitamin E oil.

MINERALS

Our bodies also need minerals because they help build bones, regulate blood circulation, aid in lowering blood pressure, and improves kidney functions, to name a few. These vital minerals include sodium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, and magnesium. These minerals can be found in foods like dairy, fruits, leafy green vegetables, beans and whole grains.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

Lastly, our bodies need omega-3 fatty acids, especially since our body cannot create this nutrient. Omega-3 fatty acids aid in brain health and heart function, and can be found in foods like salmon, krill, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

These seven nutritional needs are general items that our bodies need to aid in proper bodily functions, but we are all different people with different types of bodies that crave specific nutrients. In order to know exactly what your body needs, all it takes is 10-15 strands of your hair (which contains your DNA) that can be tested through Affordable Testing’s Nutritional Deficiencies test. This test examines over 100 nutritional deficiencies, some of which your body may need. It personalizes your test by using your DNA from your hair sample to tell you exactly what your body is lacking, but it is your job to make the change and give your body what it craves and deserves. Click the link: https://www.affordableallergytest.com/product/nutritional-deficiency-test/ to know what nutrients your body needs today!

References

White, R. (2018, June 05). 7 essential nutrients your body needs. Retrieved from https://www.wellnessdaily.com.au/health/7-essential-nutrients-your-body-needs