Hello, and welcome to this month’s articles! Spring is on the way. As the weather improves, many of us get busy with spring cleaning, yard work, or just getting out to enjoy the day boating, biking, or hiking. Just be sure to pace yourself as you begin to use those well-rested muscles... and schedule your next massage!
In addition to this month’s massage article, check out the article on gut health. We massage therapists have a passion to help our clients be as healthy as possible, and this information can have a big impact on how you feel.
Many aspects of your health start in your gut. The excerpts included here from Colette House’s article for Reader’s Digest cover some of the basics and should give you some inspiration to work at improving your overall health through your dietary choices.
Just as massage can help to improve so many areas of your health, providing your gut with the correct building blocks can help you enjoy a healthier, happier life.
Keep making massage a healthy priority in your life; see you soon for your next appointment!
Massage: Get in touch with its many benefits
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being.
Benefits of massage
Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It's increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.
Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.
While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
- Digestive disorders
- Insomnia related to stress
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.
The take-home message about massage
Brush aside any thoughts that massage is only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. To the contrary, massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever.
Clear Signs You Have an Unhealthy Gut
By Colette House
Your gastrointestinal tract is lined with microbes collectively called the microbiome, which includes bacteria, fungi, and even viruses. Gut bacteria perform many important functions in the body, including aiding the immune system, producing the feel-good brain chemical serotonin, making energy available to the body from the food we eat, and disposing of foreign substances and toxins, according to Lisa Fischer, MS, RDN, LDN, registered dietitian at the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, though we always have a mixture of good and bad bacteria, sometimes the bad guys get the upper hand, causing an imbalance in gut bacteria, which can play a role in a number of health conditions.
- You’re hankering for certain foods
Craving foods, especially sweets and sugar, can mean you have an imbalance of gut bacteria. “If there’s an overgrowth of yeast in the system, which might happen after a course or two of antibiotics where you wipe out all the good bacteria, then that overgrowth of yeast can actually cause you to crave more sugar,” Fischer says.
- You’re anxious or feeling blue
Roughly 80 to 90 percent of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood, social behavior, sleep, appetite, memory, and even libido, is produced in the gut. When less serotonin is produced, it can negatively impact mood.
- You’re not sleeping well
Not having enough serotonin can lead to bouts of insomnia or difficulty getting to sleep, according to Fischer. Chronic fatigue and symptoms of fibromyalgia can be tied into gut bacteria imbalances as well.
- Your skin is acting up
Skin rashes and eczema, a chronic condition characterized by inflamed and itchy red blotches on the skin, can develop when there is an imbalance in gut bacteria, according to Victoria Maizes, MD, executive director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
- You have an autoimmune condition
Imbalance in the microbiome plays a role in more than just GI symptoms. Diseases affecting the immune system, known as autoimmune diseases, can also indicate an imbalance. Rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis can be tied in with imbalances in the gut bacteria.
- How to build a healthier gut
Eating right is the first step in improving your microbiome. In fact, the types of foods we eat can change our gut bacteria in as little as 24 hours, according to Ali Keshavarzian, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Division of Digestive Disease and Nutrition at Rush University Medical Center. To feed your good bacteria and starve the less desirable bacteria, swap out processed foods, breads, and pastas for more plants, fruits, seeds, and nuts. And consider adding fermented foods into your diet (such as yogurt) which naturally contain probiotics, or healthy bacteria. It’s also a great idea to fill up on prebiotic foods, which actually feed the good bacteria. Try pistachios, bananas, garlic, onion, wheat, and oats, plus ancient grains such as quinoa, millet, or chia. Lastly, avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics.
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy:
They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
— Marcel Proust
The content of this article is not designed
to replace professional medical advice. If you’re ill, consult a physician.
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