Physical Activity For Weight Maintenance

For long-term weight maintenance, women who are middle-aged or older must exercise daily, incorporating at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity into their schedule, according to a new Journal of the American Medical Association study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. … Read More

Essential Oils Combat Bacteria

Essential oils can be an effective alternative to antibiotics and may have potential to combat drug-resistant superbugs, according to a new Society for General Microbiology study. The antimicrobial activity of eight plant essential oils was tested by Yiannis Samaras and Effimia Eriotou, M.D., from the Technological Educational Institute of Ionian Islands. They found that thyme essential oil was the most effective and was able to almost completely eliminate bacteria within 60 minutes. The essential oils of thyme and cinnamon were found to be particularly efficient antibacterial agents against a range of Staphylococcus species. Strains of these bacteria are commonly found on the skin and can cause infection in immunocompromised individuals. Drug-resistant strains are extremely difficult to treat. "Not only are essential oils an effective treatment option for antibiotic-resistant strains, but decreased use of antibiotics will help minimize the risk of new strains of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms emerging," says Samaras. Essential oils’ therapeutic properties have been utilized for hundreds of years, although very little is still known about how they exert their antimicrobial effects. Tea tree oil has been used to treat colds, sore throats, skin infections, and insect bites and has been used as a medicinal antiseptic since the early 20th century. “The oils, or their active ingredients, could be easily incorporated into antimicrobial creams or gels for external application,” the researchers state. Essential oils are: • Capable of being antiseptic. • Are probiotic, aiding the body to combat infection. • Are stress reducing and have a sedative effect. • Are synergistic when blended together. … Read More

Health Benefits Of Chocolate

Posted May 18, 2010 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Holistic Medicine

Chocolate has health benefits, in small quantities and if it’s dark chocolate. New research appearing in the European Heart Journal indicates that one small square of chocolate daily can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Researchers in Germany surveyed over 19,000 people and found that those who ate the most amount of chocolate had lower blood pressure and a 39 percent lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who consumed less chocolate. “Small amounts of chocolate may help to prevent heart disease, but only if it replaces other energy-dense food, such as snacks, in order to keep body weight stable,” says Brian Buijsse, M.D., a nutritional epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition. Flavonols in cocoa may be the ingredient in chocolate which produces the beneficial effect on blood pressure and heart health. Because there is a greater amount of cocoa in dark chocolate, dark chocolate may have an increased health benefit. Health benefits of chocolate: • Lowers blood pressure. • Increases endorphin production which improves mood. • The serotonin content in chocolate regulates sleep and acts as an anti-depressant. • Reduces LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol. Flavonols may improve heart health by increasing the availability of nitric oxide from cells that line the blood vessel walls. Nitric oxide causes the muscle cells of the blood vessels to relax and widen, which can contribute to lower blood pressure. … Read More

Counting Calories May Cause Weight Gain

Reduced calorie diets may make it more difficult to maintain or lose weight. Cutting calories in the diet can increase levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol can lead to additional abdominal fat. “For the first time in humans, we are finding out that cutting your calories increases cortisol,” says Janet Tomiyama, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of a new Psychosomatic Medicine study examining diet and weight gain. "We think this may be one reason dieters tend to have a hard time keeping weight off in the long-term," she says. Counting calories and reducing calories in the diet leads to the weight retention caused by increased levels of cortisol. "No matter how you cut calories, whether that's doing it on your own, or doing something like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig, it doesn't matter, it's still going to increase your cortisol level," she said. Nearly 65 percent of people gain back more weight than they lost while dieting and nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults are currently dieting. The study examined four groups of women, some assigned to calorie-tracking and reducing their calories. At the start and end of three weeks, cortisol and stress levels were measured. When calories were restricted, cortisol levels increased and calorie-tracking caused higher levels of stress. Burning more calories than you consume is the only way your body loses weight. The most effective way to lose weight is to modify lifestyle habits to incorporate regular physical activity and a healthy diet. Lose weight by: • Eating well and being active. • Joining weight loss support groups. • Avoiding diet pills and diet fads. • Reducing stress with relaxation techniques. … Read More

Managing Your Seasonal Allergies

Posted May 12, 2010 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Holistic Medicine

Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is caused by airborne pollen and mold spores, and is experienced by over 35 million Americans. Symptoms often include runny nose, stuffiness, itchiness, watery, red eyes, and sneezing. These symptoms are caused by your immune system, which recognizes pollen and mold as allergens, and produces antibodies that release chemicals to combat them, leading to an allergic reaction. Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis are often caused by grasses during the late spring and early summer. Certain nutrients can help to ease symptoms. The flavonoid quercetin can aid in controlling the release of the histamine that causes the allergic response. Foods containing quercetin include broccoli, red onions, citrus fruits, red grapes, tomatoes, apples, and berries. Tips to manage your seasonal allergy symptoms: • Limit exposure to pollen and molds by staying indoors when the pollen count is high. • Close car windows when driving. • Avoid mowing the lawn or raking leaves. • Keep home windows closed and use air conditioning to limit pollen in the house. • Avoid line-drying laundry to limit exposure to pollens. Conventional therapies for seasonal allergies often include medications or allergy shots. Using holistic therapies, like acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, can aid in symptom management. Acupuncture can be used as a primary or complementary therapy for seasonal allergies and produces no adverse side effects. … Read More

Diet Linked To Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Posted May 11, 2010 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Holistic Medicine

Individuals whose diet includes more fish, poultry, nuts, fruits, salad dressing, and vegetables and fewer high-fat dairy products, red meats and butter may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study appearing in the JAMA journal Archives of Neurology. “Evidence linking diet, one of the most important modifiable environmental factors, and risk of Alzheimer’s disease is rapidly increasing,” the authors write. “However, current literature regarding the impact of individual nutrients or food items on Alzheimer’s disease risk is inconsistent, partly because humans eat meals with complex combinations of nutrients or food items that are likely to be synergistic.” Several dietary patterns were identified with varying levels of seven nutrients previously shown to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease risk: Saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin B12, and folate. One dietary pattern was significantly associated with a reduced risk of the disease. This pattern involved high intakes of salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, fruits, and dark and green leafy vegetables and low intakes of high-fat dairy, red meat, organ meat, and butter. The combination of nutrients in the low-risk dietary pattern reflect multiple pathways in the development of Alzheimer's disease, the authors note. "For example, vitamin E might prevent Alzheimer's disease via its strong antioxidant effect and fatty acids may be related to dementia and cognitive function through atherosclerosis, thrombosis or inflammation.” … Read More

Massage For Back Pain

Many people experiencing back pain utilize massage therapy for pain management. Back pain often affects the lower back and can become a physical and psychological burden. "The cause of back pain is not always immediately clear," says Peter Sawicki, director of the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. "But back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks." Back pain is only rarely caused by a more serious health problem. If low back pain does not improve on its own, massage therapy can be a treatment option. "Research suggests that classic (Swedish) massage can relieve low back pain that has lasted longer than several weeks," says Sawicki. People experiencing back pain can benefit from a combination of massage, exercises and stretching. In addition to back pain, therapeutic massage is effective for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions and their symptoms, including stress, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, musculoskeletal disorders, arthritis, asthma/bronchitis, and carpel tunnel syndrome. Massage can reduce muscle strain, alleviate discomfort of ailments, restore balance, rejuvenate, and maintain wellness. Massage can speed the body’s healing process after surgery, illness or injuries. Therapeutic massage may incorporate techniques from Swedish, Shiatsu, deep tissue, trigger point, and medical massage. Benefits of therapeutic massage include: • Reduced muscle tension and stiffness. • Faster healing of sprained ligaments. • Reduced blood pressure. • Improved posture. • Decreased heart rate. • Balance restoration. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers massage, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of back pain as well as for a wide range of other health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Fitness And Fatness Increase Cardiovascular Risk

Posted May 07, 2010 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Holistic Medicine

Obesity and physical inactivity are both associated with major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol, according to a recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Both overweight and physical inactivity are independently associated with cardiovascular risk even in healthy women, suggesting that both “fitness” and “fatness” matter for women’s health. Women with a high body mass index (BMI of 25 or greater), or a low level of physical activity (less than 30 minutes per day of moderate activity), are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. However, women at any weight, or with any BMI, have lower cardiovascular risk with higher levels of physical activity. “A woman’s best preventative tool for lowering her cardiovascular risk is to maintain a normal BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 and to meet the current CDC guidelines of two and a half hours of physical activity per week, which could be a brisk walk 30 minutes most days of the week,” says study author Samia Mora, M.D. “A woman’s weight is more closely associated with cardiovascular risk as reflected in cholesterol levels, and as your weight increases, so does your risk.” “However, women who are thin but unfit or have low levels of physical activity may still have high risk. This means that women may significantly improve their cardiovascular risk profile by increasing their level of physical activity, and women who are physically active can lower their risk by maintaining an optimal weight.” Fitness matters for those who are thin as well as those who are overweight. It’s not only weight but exercise that matters. Cardiovascular risk can be reduced by: • Quitting smoking. • A diet low in sodium. • Reducing stress. • Regular exercise. • Maintaining a healthy weight. … Read More

Women And Arthritis Risk

Increasing numbers of American women are becoming obese and physically inactive, leading to more women experiencing arthritis. While women in the United States have an arthritis prevalence of over 23 percent, women in Canada have a significantly lower rate of 19.6 percent, according to a new Toronto Western Research Institute study, which compared data from both countries. “Our study results suggest that the higher prevalence of arthritis in the U.S. may be a consequence of greater obesity and physical inactivity in that country, particularly in women,” says lead author Elizabeth Badley. “Public health initiatives that promote healthy weight and physical activity may benefit from including arthritis concerns in its message, and could potentially reduce the incidence of arthritis,” Badley says. The study appears in the March issue of the journal Arthritis Care & Research. Certain factors have been shown to be associated with a greater risk of arthritis. Some of these risk factors are modifiable while others are not. Modifiable risk factors include: • Overweight and obesity. Excess weight can result in knee osteoarthritis. • Infection. Microbial agents can infect joints and contribute to the development of multiple forms of arthritis. • Joint damage. Injury can result in the development of joint osteoarthritis. Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy can aid in alleviating the pain, stiffness and inflammation associated with all types of arthritis. Traditional Chinese medicine uses a multidimensional approach, treating arthritis with acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, bodywork, diet modification, and supplements as necessary depending on the type of arthritis and the symptoms. … Read More

Massage For Anxiety

Individuals receiving massage show an improvement in symptoms of anxiety in as little as 10 massage sessions, according to a new study appearing in the journal Depression and Anxiety. The improvement in symptoms is comparable to the improvement produced by psychotherapy and medications, or both. The benefits of massage may be due to a generalized relaxation response. Massage therapy is among the most popular complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments for anxiety. In addition to treating generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, health benefits of massage therapy include: • Immunity boost. • Treatment of depression. • Pain management. • Stiffness. • Blood pressure regulation. Massage therapy can treat both physical and psychological symptoms of the disorder. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for the treatment of anxiety as well as a wide range of other health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation (TM) can produce a unique state of restful alertness, according to a new study conducted on college students at American University. The transcendental meditation technique activates the natural default mode “ground state” of the brain, producing significant brain wave differences and a greater alpha coherence between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, suggesting the brain is working as a whole. Different meditation techniques entail various degrees of cognitive control, including the TM technique. TM can also enhance an individual’s sense of self. A consistent practice of transcendental meditation promotes longevity and may be beneficial for various diseases and ailments such as cardiovascular disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, headaches, arthritis, and asthma. Transcendental meditation can be used for: • Stress. • Pain. • Anxiety. • Insomnia. • Overall wellness. Health benefits of TM include: Improved concentration, circulation, increased energy, lowered blood pressure, and slower respiratory rate. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Diet And Exercise For Health

Posted April 27, 2010 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Holistic Medicine

A healthy diet and regular exercise may help the mind function better, a new Duke University study suggests. “It looks like exercise and diet improve the range of cognitive function,” says Patrick Smith, a clinical neuropsychology intern and research member. “It helps executive function, learning and psychomotor speed.” The study assessed 124 men and women with high blood pressure who were at least 15 pounds overweight, determining the effect of diet and exercise on blood pressure. Those participants that ate well and exercised regularly had an overall 30 percent improvement in mental function by the end of the four-month period, the researchers noted. Strategies utilized were a weight management program which included appetite awareness training, reduced portion size, following the low-fat DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and healthy snacking habits, combined with aerobic exercise workouts for 30 minutes three to four times a week. “Physical activity does seem to have a direct effect on brain cells,” says Smith. “There are neurochemical changes that happen with exercise. There is also some evidence that it helps grow new brain cells.” Cognition can be improved by: • Memory exercises. • Stress reduction. • Including vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, and other antioxidants in the diet. • Ensuring adequate sleep. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for weight loss as well as a wide range of other health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Heart Health Benefits of Positive Emotions

Posted April 23, 2010 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Holistic Medicine

Being happy may be good for your heart. Positive emotions, such as joy, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm, and contentment have an association with cardiovascular health, according to a new Columbia University Medical Center study. The first of its kind to show a relationship between positive emotions and coronary heart disease, the observational research examined a trial population that had suffered cardiac events. Findings indicate that heart disease may be prevented by enhancing people’s positive emotions. Over a 10-year period, researchers discovered that increased experience of positive emotion was associated with less risk of heart disease by 22 percent. “We also found that if someone, who was usually positive, had some depressive symptoms at the time of the survey, this did not affect their overall lower risk of heart disease,” says Karina Davidson, Ph.D., lead author and associate professor of medicine and psychiatry. Emotions may affect heart health in several ways. Individuals experiencing positive emotions may have longer periods of rest or relaxation physiologically and may recover more quickly from stressors that can cause physiological damage. Positive emotion can have an influence on heart-rate variability, sleeping patterns and smoking cessation. There is increasing evidence that positive emotions are associated with beneficial physical and psychological health outcomes, such as: • Improvements in immune system functioning. • Better coping ability with stressful situations. • Improved recovery from illness or surgery. • Fewer physical complaints. • Greater protection against physical disability. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Posted April 22, 2010 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Holistic Medicine

One in four Americans experiences chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). CFS is a disorder characterized by debilitating fatigue and a variety of associated physical, constitutional and neuropsychological symptoms. Symptoms include unexplained prolonged fatigue lasting six months or longer, muscle and joint pain, headaches, cognitive impairment, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, post-exertional fatigue, and unrefreshing sleep. About half of adults with CFS seek medical help. This condition can become prolonged over several years if left untreated. The cause of CFS is unknown. Research indicates that over 75 percent of individuals experiencing chronic fatigue syndrome have sought complementary and alternative medicine as either a primary or complementary therapy for their condition. Acupuncture and massage therapy can aid in alleviating many of the symptoms associated with CFS, including: • Fatigue. • Unrefreshing sleep. • Memory or concentration difficulties. • Headache. • Generalized muscle pain. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome as well as a wide range of other health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Vitamin D And Diabetes

Posted April 14, 2010 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Holistic Medicine

Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin” because people get most of their vitamin D from the sun, can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 55 percent. Over the last twenty years, Americans have developed a vitamin D deficiency, probably related to the use of sunscreen or being advised to stay out of the sun. While individuals should prevent excess sun exposure, they should also be aware that 90 percent of their vitamin D comes from sunshine and limited-time, outdoor sessions a few times a week can enhance health. A new study from Warwick Medical School indicates that high vitamin D levels can not only aid in preventing type 2 diabetes but can also reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by nearly 35 percent. The study appears in the journal Maturitas. While vitamin D deficiencies can lead to an increased risk of developing these diseases, the direct link between getting plenty of vitamin D and type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention is not yet determined. Health benefits of vitamin D include: • Formation and maintenance of strong bones. • Protection against osteoporosis and high blood pressure. • Immune system strengthening. • Protection against colon, breast and prostate cancers. … Read More

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