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What To Do When You’re Chronically Stressed

Of all the modern-day ailments that seem to affect us, none is more pervasive than stress. Everywhere you turn, there are factors lurking to redirect you from your peaceful pursuit of happiness and lock you in the clutches of “stress.”

What exactly is stress—and what more insidious effects does it cause? The dictionary defines stress as “great pressure or force; strain.” In today’s world, we think of stress as the result of too much pressure laid upon us by life, causing mental worry or anguish. This, in turn, manifests itself in tight neck and shoulders, headaches, nervous stomach, etc. But these physical and mental conditions are really only the beginning.

Studies show that stressful situations can develop into more threatening health conditions. For instance:

A sudden or unexpected stressor can activate your adrenal glands, which sends adrenaline and other hormones into your bloodstream. This brings about an increase in your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to…
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Simple Steps to Spring Forward Toward Fitness

Daylight savings time is a sure reminder that spring is just around the corner and there WILL eventually be an end to the winter weather. And while much of the country still dealing with bitter cold, here in Houston, we’re definitely ready for the warmer days. In fact, this is the time of year when you’ll find many of us increasing our outdoor activities and all too often push ourselves a little too hard. Unfortunately, what can result is often a few days of painful recovery time.

So, I've got a short list of suggestions to consider as you pursue your favorite warm-weather pastimes this season:

First, increase your activity level gradually— Pay attention to your body’s signals so you can avoid serious injury and don’t have to pay the painful price of overindulgence. Start slowly and do a little more each day and you’ll be up to speed in no time.

Warm up— Plunging into activity before you get your body warmed and ready is inviting potential trouble. Avoid possible sprains, torn liga…

The Benefits of Regular Massage Sessions

Once people discover the many joys and benefits of massage, a common question arises—“How often should I schedule my massage sessions?”

Of course, there is no set answer, but studies indicate that massage at regular intervals is most beneficial to your overall health.

In a Newsweek article entitled “The Magic of Touch,” the advantages of frequent massage are considered. The following excerpts help to answer the question, “How often?”

“A weekly massage may seem an indulgence, but new research suggests it can have major health benefits...

“Since instituting a program of massage, job-specific exercises and ergonomics in 1990, the Virginia-based company [Wampler Foods] has cut repetitive-stress injuries by 75 percent...

“From assembly lines to corporate headquarters, Americans are discovering the magic of massage. At Boeing and Reebok, headaches, back strain and fatigue have all fallen since the companies started bringing in massage therapists...

Doctors have started prescribing massage …

Not tonight… I've got a headache.

Headaches… the perfect way to ruin a romantic rendezvous. No? With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would talk about headaches and suggest ways to prevent this trouble maker from ruining not only your love life, but your daily life, too.

According to Web MD, 30 to 80% of the adult Americans suffer from occasional tension headaches. Some of these may have hereditary causes, while others can be caused by lifestyle or environment, such as poor posture, unhealthy eating habits, a high stress job, or a demanding home life. Any combination of stress-inducing factors could become the trigger, really.

That said, massage therapy may be your best secret weapon to keep headaches at bay. At the very least, massage therapy can help you deal with the pain while you determine the best approach to maneuvering through the mitigating factors that might be causing your headaches.

But don’t just take my word for it…

According to The American Journal of Manipulative Physiological and T…

How to Sleep Better for Back Pain Relief

When you have back pain, sleeping can be hard. Not only can pain make for a miserable bedtime, but not getting enough sleep can actually make chronic pain hurt more the next day.

It can be a vicious cycle.

Aside from a good therapeutic massage, finding a proper sleep position can also help reduce back pain. So if you are a side sleeper, try placing a pillow between your knees to keep your spine in a neutral position and relieve strain on your back. If you need to sleep on your back, sliding a pillow under your knees should help, too. And always be sure to sleep on a comfortably firm mattress.

If pain persists and is still making it hard to sleep after a few days, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Oh, and getting into good bedtime habits -- including keeping a regular bedtime and wake time schedule -- can help too.

What to Do If You’ve Got High Cholesterol

As I've gotten older I've realized that takes more than an apple a day to keep the doctor off your back.

If you've got high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, the good doc is going to pester you about it—apple or not (and he should!). But don’t blame him - he’s trying to save your life.

According to the American Heart Association, 105.2 million adults have borderline to high risk blood cholesterol levels. In addition, nearly one in three adults suffers from high blood pressure and these numbers grow every year.

Even more frightening; 82% of those at high risk are unaware of their condition. Could you be one of them?

Whether you've had your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked lately or not, these conditions are deadly and sneaky—many people are unaware of the danger lurking in their own arteries. In fact, many firmly believe that what you don’t know can’t hurt you… They’re dead wrong.

What’s so bad about high blood pressure and cholesterol levels? In a nut…

When Should I Get a Massage and How Often?

This is a question I get often…

Let’s face it, if it were up to massage therapists we’d say that you should get a massage every day, but in reality – very few people ever have the means or time to make this scenario play out in their lives. So technically speaking, your frequency should depend on how much you like massage, how often you experience chronic pain, and your budget.

If you’re able to afford it, getting a monthly or weekly massage works best at helping prevent injuries by catching tight areas before they become problematic. With my more athletic clients (runners, weightlifters, gymnasts), I usually recommend timing their massage to coincide with the times they are training their hardest. For example, runners can develop tight hamstrings and hips, gymnasts and weight-lifters can get tight shoulders. These tight muscle groups can elicit injuries over time if they aren't treated by massage.

If you are physically active, I recommend getting a massage within 24 hours after …