Monday, February 27, 2012

Reduce Stress & Boost Well-Being

I like stress. Stress is good. Stress can cause you to grow, become faster, and more keenly aware of your surroundings. It sets off all sorts of hormones that can get your heart beating and your body pumping. After all, that which does not kill us can only serve to make us stronger, right?

True - except for when that something is stress. The fact remains; too much stress actually CAN kill us.

When we experience an overload of stress for too long, our ability to live in grace and balance may be challenged. As a result, our health can be severely compromised. The great thing about therapeutic massage is that it is a stress buster that actually works with little or no effort on your part and has become well known as one of the best ways to deal with the overload of stress so common in today's world.

Therapeutic massage can give you a break from the buildup of stress and can help trigger the "relaxation response" (a natural function of the nervous system that reverses the effects of excess stress). Massage can also provide relief from chronic, persistent headaches, reduce nervous anxiety, and promote more restful sleep, all conditions associated with an overload of stress.

One of the key benefits of therapeutic massage is improved circulation. Think of it as allowing your muscles to breathe. Good circulation is essential to bringing oxygen and nutrients to healing tissues and to remove irritating waste products. This, in turn, helps to decrease inflammation and pain from injuries or overuse. Massage also increases circulation to the joints, thereby improving their function and mobility.

Massage therapy can help increase awareness and sensitivity to the body's signals. In fact, there are times when a client has been so overwhelmed with stress for so long that sore stressed muscles have become the "normal" sensation. It is only when I have "located" their areas of stress (through touch) that they realize the extent of the stress they have placed on their body.

Therapeutic massage has been used for stress and pain relief around the world throughout the ages. As long ago as the 5th century Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, wrote, "the physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly also in rubbing."
Modern research, such as studies by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School, have demonstrated that massage is extraordinary in its ability to reduce the effects of stress and promote well-being.
Respond to stress with grace and balance; book your massage with me today.

As Always – Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

The Legal Stuff: The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Bottle & The Belly

A few years back, manufacturers of vodka, gin and clear rum were promoting the idea that drinking clear alcohol would keep you trim as long as you counted the calories (calculated at about 7 cal per gram). What they didn’t tell you was that your body can discriminate (and prefer) one type of calorie source over another.

According to some research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, alcohol can literally put a halt to fat metabolism.

Participants in this study were given two servings of clear alcohol administered 30 minutes apart. Fat metabolism was monitored before, and after each serving. What they discovered was that even hours after drinking both drinks, fat metabolism had decreased by over 70%.

This means that while your body might be busy processing alcohol as fuel, it will also be simultaneously suppressing you're fat burning abilities. Basically: the more your drink, the less your body burns fat.

They also found test subjects to have decreased levels of the hormone leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain when you are full. So if you are having food with your drinks, the chances you will over eat are greatly increased. And given that alcohol becomes your body's “preferred” source of fuel, this means that all the calories you do consume go directly toward your waist line.

There’s even more; alcohol is known to increase your cortisol levels and reduce testosterone levels for up to 24 hours after you have had your last drink. In case you forgot, cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” that suppresses metabolism and encourages your body to store fat.

As for testosterone; this hormone plays a major role in building and maintaining muscle tissue which is used as your calorie burning furnace. This combination of events is certainly not good for trimming your mid-section or adding muscle.

The moral of the story is this, to get the most health benefit from consuming alcoholic beverages, limit your intake. The maximum recommended daily dose for women is 4-6 oz of wine and, if you’re a man, 8-12 oz. Note: those are daily numbers! No “stock-piling” up to use them all at once on a single night! As the Greeks would say, everything in moderation, including excess!

As Always – Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

The Legal Stuff: The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Red Alert

This year it is estimated that over 315,000 women died from heart disease. The sad note is that most of them won’t even know they have heart problems until it's too late. Unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women across all ethnic and age groups.

Commonly thought of as a “mans” disease, many women feel that they are not susceptible to heart disease. In fact, heart disease affects as many women as it does men. In no way is it gender-specific.

Because women who die from heart disease don’t usually exhibit the common symptoms (chest pain, chest tightness, numbness in the left arm) associated with heart attacks in men, it is important that women, regardless of age or ethnicity be regularly screened and tested for heart disease.

To help get you started, here are a few ways to reduce your risk; just don't forget to discuss them with your doctor:

• Screenings for blockages associated with strokes or heart disease
• Lowering your LDL cholesterol and raising your HDL cholesterol
• Lowering your blood pressure
• Incorporating a lower sodium diet
• Increasing your physical activity

If you are able to incorporate these changing into your lifestyle, chances are you have also made significant improvements in your overall health. That includes a slimmer, firmer you. So, now In honor of Wear Red Day) I have to find something “red” to wear to support the cause. What will you be wearing? ; )

As Always – Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

The Legal Stuff: The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Good Morning!

My friends know they will rarely find me without a coffee mug in hand in the morning. What can I say? I love the stuff! And while some are sensitive to the negative effects of caffeine, I like to dwell on a couple of very real health benefits that coffee may have for you.

For example, a recent study seems to indicate that coffee may have a positive effect on reducing men’s chances for developing prostate cancer. In fact, men who drink four to six cups of coffee per day may be able to reduce their risk by up to 20%.

But, the most impressive part of the study was that it did not matter whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated.

As for the ladies, coffee may also reduce your chances of developing endometrial cancer which is a form of cancer that attacks the womb. Effecting over 46,000 women each year, this cancer serious and may be linked to levels of estrogen and insulin.

Women who drank an average of 2-4 cups per day also reduced risk of developing endometrial cancer by up to 25%. And like before, caffeine has nothing to do with it. So, those who averaged 2-4 cups of decaffeinated coffee daily reduced their risks as well. Unfortunately, tea (hot or cold) seemed not to alter the risk factor for these women. Of course, more research is needed.

That said; I’m just content to know that, aside from the morning pick me-up, the antioxidants and phenols found in my daily Java could have an overall positive effect on my health.

So, Starbucks lovers rejoice in the fact that your morning cup of joe may help reduce your risks for many different diseases which may afflict you as you get older. In the mean time, I think I'll fill my next cup of the morning. ; )

As Always - Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

The legal stuff: The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.


Je, Y. Hankinson, S. Tworoger, S. DeVivo, I. Giovannucci, E. A Prospective Cohort Study of Coffee Consumption and Risk of Endometrial Cancer over a 26-Year Follow Up.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev November 22, 2011 ; Published OnlineFirst November 22, 2011; doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-0766.

Wilson, K. Kasperzyk, J. Rider, J. Kenfield, S. Van Dam, R. Stampler, M. Giovannucci, E. Mucci, L. Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk and Progression in the Health Professionals follow up Study. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2011) doi: 10.1093/jnci/djr151