Archive for April, 2012

Health 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.

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.

Massage therapy can also speed up your recovery process if you do have an injury.

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 and every day.

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

Straight From the Headlines: Exercising with Allergies

For those who suffer from seasonal allergies it seems very hard to get outdoors and enjoy the spring weather because of all of the allergens. But thanks to recent report put out by Penn State University, researchers offer these tips to exercise with allergies.

• Run early in the morning or later in the evening when it is damper out and less pollen is in the air.

• Wear sunglasses to rebound any pollen from getting into your eyes.

• Shower immediately following being outdoors exercising and use a neti pot to clean any pollen or allergens out of your nose.

• Try swimming and water-based exercise if the pollen and allergens are still getting the best of you.

Your Skin Cancer Risk

Here are ten surprising clues that could mean that you are more apt to being diagnosed with skin cancer than others.

Clue #1: You wear flip-flops often. If you wear flip-flops most of the spring and summer, your feet are prone to more sun exposure and sun damage than those who wear socks and shoes.

Clue #2: You wear baseball hats. While baseball hats protect your head from sun damage, your ears are constantly exposed and are often overlooked when your skin is checked for signs of skin cancer.

Clue #3: You are a male. Whether it’s habits, hormones or genes, or even a combination of these three, men have three times as many squamous cancer cells and twice as many basal cancer cells as women. Also, white men over the age of 50 have the highest incidence of melanoma.

Clue #4: You have dark skin. While skin with more pigment has a natural shield against UV rays, many African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian Indians get a false sense of security and typically do not pay much attention to protecting their skin from these harmful rays. Skin cancer is also detected much later in dark skinned people, therefore making it harder to treat.

Clue #5: You live in the South or in the Mountains. Rates of skin cancer are obviously higher in places that receive more sunlight, like in the South or in the Mountains. Altitude is also a factor as UV radiation increases about 4 to 5 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level.

Clue #6: You are a runner, cyclist or swimmer. The more miles men and women run the greater their chance of acquiring skin cancer. The same goes for swimmers and cyclists who spend countless hours out in the climate.

Clue #7: You have a lot of moles. The average Caucasian has 30 moles – relatively round spots that are brown, red or pink. But the moles that are asymmetrical, with raggedy borders, discoloration or changing size, are the ones that are more likely to develop into melanoma. People over the age of 20 with more than 100 moles or people under the age of 20 with more than 50 moles are also at risk.

Clue #8: You have light-colored eyes. Blue, grey or green eyes are considered risk factors for skin cancer because they are typically associated with fair skin, freckles, and blonde or red hair.

Clue #9: You had a lot of sunburns as a child or teenager. A history of sunburn is a major risk factor and a leading cause of skin cancer. Your risk doubles if you have had more than five sunburns in your life. Just one blistering sunburn can double your risk later in life.

Clue #10: You smoke. Smoking lowers your immunity and allows free radicals to enter your body. The longer you smoke the more likely you are to acquire skin cancer. After 20 years of smoking, your risk doubles compared to non-smokers.

Easter Candy Calorie Calculator

Easter may be just around the corner, but that Easter candy always sticks around for a few weeks and sometimes months. While it’s OK to satisfy your sweet tooth use this calorie calculator to monitor your intake! From marshmallow peeps to chocolate, find out the calories of the content of your Easter basket.

4 Peeps Marshmallow Bunnies: 130 calories

1 Peeps Hollow Milk Chocolate Egg: 420 calories

5 Mars Mini Chocolate Eggs: 179 calories

1 Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny: 890 calories

1 Cadbury Crème Egg: 150 calories

12 Cadbury Chocolate Eggs: 190 calories

1 Dove Solid Chocolate Easter Bunny: 230 calories

1 Nestle’s Crunch Solid Chocolate Easter Bunny: 692 calories

1 Snickers Cream Sports Egg: 140 calories

1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg: 180 calories

1 Reese’s Reester Bunny: 798 calories

1 Brachs Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Egg: 43 calories

5 Brachs Malted Easter Eggs: 180 calories

35 Jelly Belly Assorted Jelly Beans: 140 calories

1 Cadbury Caramel Egg: 190 calories

5 Peeps Marshmallow Chicks: 136 calories

1 Large Solid Chocolate Bunny (7 oz.): 1050 calories

8 Robin Eggs: 180 calories

1 Milky Way Bunny: 160 calories

12 Cadbury Mini Eggs: 190 calories

5 Mini Kit Kats: 210 calories

1 Hollow Chocolate Bunny: 270 calories

1 Tootsie Pop: 60 calories

2 Tootsie Roll Snack Bars: 100 calories

2 Small Boxes of Dots: 140 calories

Feeling a little guilty after learning how many calories are in your favorite Easter treats? Don’t worry! Just use this handy guide to determine how much walking you need to do to work those calories off!

Editor’s Note: Mileage is based upon eating only one serving of each of the following candies. Should you eat more than one serving (according to package) or a combination of any of the following then your mileage will need adjusted.

Jelly Beans: 1.4 miles

Peeps: 1.6 miles

Robin Eggs: 1.7 miles

Small Chocolate Bunny: 1.4 miles

Medium Hollow Bunny: 2.6 miles

Large Chocolate Bunny: 10.5 miles (!!!!!!)

Chocolate-covered Marshmallow Bunny: .6 miles

Chocolate-covered Marshmallow Egg: 1 mile

Cadbury Crème Egg: 1.7 miles

Cadbury Caramel Egg: 1.9 miles

Lindt Chocolate Carrots: 2.1 miles

Prefer real eggs over chocolate eggs? You may need to do some walking, too. One hard boiled egg requires .76 of a mile to walk it off and a half of a deviled egg takes .73 of a mile to burn!