The Benefits of Hot Water

August 10, 2013 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

Bathtime

Think back to injuries and pain you experienced as a child (or more recently). Chances are, heat and cold were recommended as therapy by your doctors, grandmothers, school nurses or parents.

It makes sense then, that there are real benefits of using heat when it comes to your health. This is especially true of hot water. While heat packs may be great for localized pain and injuries, being able to submerge in hot water eliminates limitations associated with small, stiff heat packs by being able to reach every spot at one time.

While drinking water is beneficial for overall health, soaking in hot water as you do in hot water plunge pools may be just as important.

Relaxation

In the fast-paced society in which we live, relaxation is hard to come by. Between constant appointments, the availability of mobile technology and other distractions, stress levels seem to be at all time highs.

Think of what requires you to take a break from technology and the other distractions…water. Even if you are not suffering from an injury, pain-causing condition or anything else, by taking the time to relax in hot water, you’re forcing your body to slow down. That’s something that can be hard to come by and the benefits are truly immeasurable.

Muscle Recovery

Following workouts for high-performance athletes or even physical therapy for individuals recovering from injuries or medical procedures, warm water therapy is often recommended.

By taking the time to soak in warm water (optimally between 94 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit), tight muscles are given the opportunity to relax and endorphins are released. Some hot water pools (available for homes and professionals) are equipped with massage hoses that add the additional benefit of deep tissue therapy during the soak.

Proper muscle recovery is critical for future performance and long-term prognoses in individuals recovering from injuries. Hot water offers this type of recovery in an affordable fashion.

Pain Relief

In the same way that hot water provides for relaxation and muscle recovery, it can be used for pain relief (for injuries and chronic conditions).

Hot water heats the body’s muscles and tissues, increasing circulation and thereby restoring blood flow throughout the entire body. Increased blood flow decreases stiffness in joints, relieves pain and has been known to calm muscle spasms in individuals with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and other medical conditions.

By regulating the neuromuscular and endocrine systems (through increased blood flow), benefits can be seen quickly when hot water therapy is used on a regular basis.

When it comes to tangible health benefits from a naturally occurring element, hot water offers demonstrated relief from pain, shorter muscle recovery times and increased stamina to individuals suffering from injuries and chronic conditions.

5 Weight Loss Foods That Always Work

May 2, 2013 by  
Filed under OBESITY

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English: A salmon rose, part of a sashimi dinn...

English: A salmon rose, part of a sashimi dinner set. Taken on 24 Jan 2006 by blu3d. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A healthy diet isn’t just an incentive for supermodels and athletes, but the cornerstone to a happy lifestyle. It’s important to remember that the nature of relationships between your mind and body is always vice-versa.

Although not all of us have the luxury of time to dedicate ourselves to building six-pack abs, we certainly can do enough to keep those stomach flabs at bay. Here are the top five wonder weight-loss foods that will make your diet plan twice as effective.

Salmon

Contrary to popular belief that salmon is high in fat, it’s actually remarkably low in calories and only high in unsaturated fats that are good for your body. Salmon is one of the best sources of lean protein and is referred to as a nutritional messiah for its myriad of health benefits.

It helps reduce unhealthy elements in your diet such as sugars, hydrogenated oils, starches and saturated fats. Many people avoid healthy foods because they believe most of them taste worse than a mouse repellant. Luckily, salmon happens to be a worldwide delicacy and renders this stereotype moot. Salmon is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which assist in the reduction of cholesterol, and exhibit anti-inflammatory and brain cognition-enhancing properties.

Brown rice

Although brown rice may fit into the resented “all healthy foods look unattractive” stereotype, it happens to be one of the most popular weight loss foods in the world. Its low-energy density value and fiber-packed nature make it a great hunger suppressing, low-calorie meal. Unlike white rice, brown rice only contains resistant starch, which helps boost your body’s metabolism.

Green tea

If you’re looking for a super weight loss food that has a 100 percent success rate, chances are you didn’t have the best luck finding one. But that may be because you should have been looking for a super beverage instead – a super weight loss beverage called green tea. Its rich antioxidant concentration helps naturally elevate your body’s metabolism and eliminate harmful ketones that manifest in the body during your weight loss regimen.

Popcorn

Popcorn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eggs

It’s no coincidence that eggs are the superstars of breakfast foods across every culture. Whether you like them boiled, poached or scrambled, eggs provide a plethora of nutritional benefits that will have a tremendous impact on your weight loss routine.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, which are great for keeping your appetite under control for hours after you’ve had them. They’re also good sources of Vitamin D.

Popcorn

Popcorn may be the most surprising choice in this list. Your concerns would be justified if it was the same butter-soaked, over-salted snack you buy at the theater. Air-popped popcorn or popcorn made using oils containing monosaturated fats is high in fiber and low in calories. Popcorn is actually a healthy and delicious snack that can make your diet plan more appealing to your taste buds, as well as give you that full feeling you often lack when dieting.

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Go Flexitarian and Diversify Your Diet

April 4, 2013 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

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A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

Although the constraints of a strict vegetarian or vegan diet isn’t for everyone, more and more people are becoming aware of meat consumption’s health drawbacks and ecological impact. For those folks who want to avoid meat but aren’t ready to give up the joys of a good steak, there’s a new term: flexitarian.

The flexitarian is the centrist in a world where our friends and neighbors range from the fast-food-obsessed carnivore to the strict vegan who is always on a “cleanse.” Flexitarians believe moderation is the key to everything, and that staying mindful of your intake while still enjoying a variety of delicious foods is the key to living a balanced dietary life.

The Case for Flexitarianism

While it’s possible to get a healthy intake of fats, vitamins and protein without animal products, the human body evolved to eat meat. However, most believe it is simply unnecessary to consume it every day.

Most societies throughout history relied on fish or animal flesh for at least part of their protein requirements. When industrial farming started making meat cheap and plentiful, however, contemporary society moved to a much heavier consumption model.

In addition to being painful and traumatizing for the animals, the conditions in industrial farms are devastating to the local environment. Waste runoff, excessive resource consumption and the trash associated with packaging are all causes of concern.

The health benefits of reducing meat consumption are also well documented. Most animal products are high in saturated fat and can promote long-term weight gain as well as other serious health problems. Increasing your vegetable intake to make up for the missing meat not only reduces these risks, it also means more helpful vitamins and nutrients in your diet.

Adjusting To The Lifestyle

It can be difficult to go flexitarian when you have been conditioned to think of a “meal” as a big piece of meat with perhaps a starch or vegetable on the side. When you start thinking of chicken, pork, beef, fish or other animal proteins as a luxury, you can open yourself up to a greater variety of cooking styles.

If you’re having difficulty feeling full without meat in your meal, try figuring out which alternative protein sources are hearty enough to fill you up. Eggs, beans, nuts and certain whole grains such as quinoa help increase feelings of fullness, as does ingesting high-fiber foods.

The joy of flexitarianism is that you can still modify your diet to include whatever you like without feeling constrained. You may choose to bulk up your stir-fry with some shredded chicken, or make a veggie lasagna instead of your usual beef Bolognese version. It’s all up to you!

Going Flexitarian For The Long Haul

Sticking with flexitarianism can require some creativity and willingness to try new things, but the rewards are outstanding once you get the hang of it. Who knows — after a few months reducing your meat intake, you may choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator, buy e cigarettes instead of your old pack of Camels, or even order the tofu instead of the burger!

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Choosing a Martial Art

March 8, 2013 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

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English: A match between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu b...

A match between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelts Gabriel Vella and Romulo Barral at the 2009 World Jiu-Jitsu Championships. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I never could get into gym life. I knew weightlifting and aerobic training improved my strength and stamina, but I never found either particularly motivating — a death sentence for any exercise regime. Don’t get me wrong: weight training and aerobic gym classes are excellent exercise; they just didn’t work for me personally.

My training motivation comes less from seeing improvements in my health and more from learning a new skill. So martial arts were a much better choice for me. I found I enjoyed the traditional structure and ritual of the karate dojo, and the belt system provided a built-in goal setting system. Besides, after a few months training I got to play with tonfa, Bo sticks and other weaponry, which impressed the hell out of my inner child.

Like other exercise programs, martial arts aren’t one-size-fits-all. Fortunately, dojos and donjons are easy to find across the country, whether you live in Los Angeles, California, or are staying in one of the Dover, Delaware hotels. Below are some of the more commonly taught martial arts, each with its own benefits and philosophy.

Aikido

Aikido forgoes attack, focusing solely on defense. The art relies on transforming your attacker’s motion and movements into controlling counter-techniques. Attacks are taught only as a means to practice defense.

Jiu-Jitsu

Another Japanese art, Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling art focusing on throws, holds and ground fighting. A subset of Jiu-Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is very popular, and teaches tactics where a smaller person can defeat a larger, stronger individual by taking the fight to the ground, using choke holds and joint locks to control the opponent.

Judo

Judo evolved from Jiu-Jitsu. Also a grappling art, judo has become a popular Olympic sport, and emphasizes immobilizing and subduing an opponent without causing significant damage.

Taekwondo

A Korean art, taekwondo emphasizes the use of kicks, capitalizing on the greater reach and strength legs have over arms. Sparring and competition are important aspects of the art, with safety gear worn for protection.

Karate

While most people think of karate as Japanese, the art developed in the islands of Okinawa. Practice includes set forms (kata), prearranged drills and sparring. Karate dojos may include instruction in traditional Okinawa weapons such as the sai and tonfa.

Kung Fu

Kung fu, more correctly known as wushu, describes a wide range of fighting styles from China. Popularized in the west by Bruce Lee, kung fu schools vary widely in their philosophy, training focus and forms. Some styles mimic graceful animal behavior, some on external strength, and other on cultivating internal “qi,” or inner energy. If you’re a fan of weapons training, kung fu offers a broad range of weapons, from long swords to three-sectioned staffs.

Muay Tai

Muay Tai is a Thai art known for vicious elbow and knee strikes from close quarters and clinches. Full-contact Muay Tai is a powerful fighting style with connections to Chinese and India martial arts. The art places great emphasis on conditioning and strength.

Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed martial arts (MMA) are full contact schools, which borrow striking and grappling techniques from many different schools.  Some purists deny MMA qualifies as a martial art, but the fighting style is often brutally effective.

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Easy Habits for Preventing Heart Attacks

January 15, 2013 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE, HEART AND STROKE

Ambulance

Photo credit: Andrew Malone

You’ve probably heard that taking a baby aspirin daily can help prevent heart attacks. The bulk of Bayer’s commercials are centered on the idea, and what better way to up sales than prescribing aspirin daily? However, there are a number of other ways you can help prevent a heart attack. If your parents have had a heart attack, you’re especially at risk and should take precaution.

Not everyone likes the idea of taking medication to become healthier. Kicking the tobacco habit and working out at least 30 minutes a day are natural ways to lower your risk. Maintaining a healthy weight by eating foods low in fat, bad cholesterol and sodium is also wise. However, just like e-therapy, this is easier said than done. Check out these ways to keep heart-healthy easily.

A Strange Approach

A recent study shows getting annual flu shots may prevent heart attacks. The study involved over 3,000 patients over 60 and it seems that these shots can lower your risk by up to 50 percent. Many people are divided over the benefits of flu shots, but this information might sway some doubters. Flu shots are especially helpful for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly.

Less than half of all Americans get the shot, but that may change. Shots are widely available at pharmacies and at a reasonable cost. Older people are more prone to heart attacks, and a weakened immune system with the flu can’t help. It might be time to consider a new, annual autumnal habit.

Health Habits to Start

Vitamin K2 is crucial for a healthy heart, and fermented foods are rich in this vitamin. Yogurt and kimchi are just two examples. Of course, you can also check to make sure your multi-vitamin has appropriate K2 levels. A study has shown that people with proper K2 levels are 52 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.

Cod liver oil is another essential nutrient for a healthy heart. If you were traumatized by foul-tasting spoonfuls in the past, don’t worry. There are a number of pill forms available, and some even come with a non-fishy taste. This is an important supplement to add to your regular regimen.

The Hardest Easy Tip

Reducing stress and being happy is the best way to prevent a heart attack, as well as other ailments. It might seem that if you could be happy and stress-free, you would. However, many people pile stress on themselves unnecessarily. It’s essential to find an outlet for stress and make time for activities you enjoy.

There’s no guaranteed way to prevent a heart attack. Knowing your family history and taking care of yourself (mentally, physically and emotionally) can, however, provide a great boost to your health. The next time you feel like skipping the gym, lighting up or taking on that extra project you don’t have time for, think again. Is it worth it?

About the author:

Adrienne is a blogger and aspiring writer. When she’s not blogging about tech and social media, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.

Eat All That Chocolate

December 6, 2012 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE, OBESITY

Are you craving chocolate yet?  What if I told you not to eat it and that it would make you fat?  Now how do you feel about eating it?  Are you mad-jonesing for it?

That’s what a recent study found.  A joint research team of the University of Western Australia and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland found that when a group of 80 women were presented with videos or images warning that chocolate could lead to obesity that they were more likely to crave it.  When shown images of thin models, their desire to eat chocolate increased while their food consumption desire decreased.

The study that appears in the journal Appetite, while interesting, highlights a problem we are probably all aware of but do little to acknowledge.  We want to do the things people don’t want us to.  There is a part of human nature that enjoys rebelling against a system of order.  And when people are dieting, the life of their eating habits is a system of order.

It is actually the lack of discipline relating to rebellion that is the reason why many diets fail.  Because diets, and worse yet fad diets, are short term solutions that are often not adopted as permanent lifestyle changes.  Any short term benefits of dieting are often lost very quickly when the diet ends and a person reverts back to their normal eating habits.

It’s the big changes to our habits that we have the biggest problem dealing with.  There is often a short-term immediate acceptance but in the long run we’ll naturally want to go back to an old way of doing things.

Instead of trying to make sudden sweeping changes to your habits consider small changes.  Nutritionists have seen better long-term results when people adopt smaller changes to their eating habits.

When you start small think of how many calories you take in each day.  Are you drinking three cans of soda a day?  Could you live with two?  Are you getting the fast food combo with large fries and a drink?  Maybe go medium instead, that is if you absolutely need to have that fast food meal.

Do you find yourself constantly snacking in front of your television or your computer?  What is it that you’re snacking on?  Is it cookies or chips?  When you sit down to browse your queued instant videos or check your email, consider putting a bowl of baby carrots in front of you.  Health experts have found that people have a tendency to reach for and snack on whatever is close at hand.  If what’s close at hand just happens to be a healthy fruit or vegetable snack it could be much better for your belly than a box of doughnuts.

Little changes to your fitness can be adopted as well.  It can be as simple as just parking your car a little further away from the entrance to the shopping mall.  If you’re walking up a few floors in a building take the stairs instead.  If you are going up thirty floors though it is probably just fine to take the elevator so you don’t show up at your business meeting sweating and huffing and puffing.  If you do have the gusto to climb thirty flights of stairs then go for it!

When you step into 2013 for the first time and think about that most common of mantras people like to attempt every time a New Year starts, think about taking small steps.  When somebody tells you not to eat chocolate because it will make you fat don’t just eat that chocolate out of spite.  Take small steps and pay attention to your habits when it comes to eating and you may find that positive change may be coming your way.

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Nurses Press for New Patient-Handling Regulations

October 16, 2012 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

Nurse Becky

America’s obesity epidemic has spread beyond overweight people who put themselves at risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke; now, the nation’s runaway weight problem has serious consequences for healthcare workers who must lift and move overweight patients when they cannot move on their own.

Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control confirm that the “average” American is over-weight, and the population is still packing-on excess pounds. Robert Longley reports, “Average adult Americans are a whopping 25 pounds heavier than they were in 1960. Average BMI has increased among adults from approximately 25 in 1960 to 28 in 2002.” BMI above 25 is the clinical standard for obesity. The BMI numbers translate to 191 lbs for the average American male and 165 for the average American woman. Therefore, if four female nurses “team lift” an ordinary man or woman from a gurney to a bed, each of them exceeds the OSHA lifting limit of 35 lbs.

Given the exigencies of everyday hospital operations, nurses more often violate the OSHA weight limit than ask for extra help. Amy Williamson, workplace safety coordinator for Baptist Hospital in Nashville, tells USA Today , “In the course of an eight-hour day, a nurse will typically lift 1.8 tons, which is pretty astronomical.” Follow-up studies indicate a nurse’s total daily lifting is up to 10 times that of commercial construction workers and workers at home improvement retailers, the two professions with exceptionally high rates of lift-related injuries.

In the wake of nurses’ record-high numbers of back injuries and workers’ compensation claims for knee, shoulder and joint problems, the American Nurses Association has launched a major initiative to update patient-handling requirements and assure their strict enforcement in America’s hospitals.

California leads reforms.

A model for other states’ new patient-handling regulations, California’s Employment Safety and Health Facilities Act (AB1136)…
Cites background data that inspired the legislation, including first and foremost the Legislature’s acknowledgement that injuries to healthcare workers accounted for 11 percent of California’s musculo-skeletal injuries in 2008 and 99 percent of those injuries came as a result of overexertion.

Amends the California Occupational Safety and Health Act and requires employers’ development, implementation and enforcement of safe patient-handling policies for all their units. The amended OSHA act also mandates properly trained staff and specially skilled lift teams in every general hospital and acute care facility.

Requires employers to phase-out manual lifting and transfer of patients, and it specifies they must replace obsolete lifting procedures with power-assisted lifting devices and specially trained lift teams.

Mandates employers’ adoption of comprehensive patient-handling plans and standard operating procedures which assure patients’ safety while making special provisions for doctors’, nurses’, orderlies’ and other professionals’ protection against musculo-skeletal injuries.

Redefines crimes and torts to assure local governments’ compliance with and enforcement of the statewide mandate for healthcare workers’ protection against musculo-skeletal injuries.

Nashville Baptist Hospital makes the case.

Under nurse Mary Ann Baylor’s direction, Nashville Baptist Hospital launched its own back injury prevention program which includes all the elements of California’s law and adds a buddy system. Tom Wilemon, reporter for the Nashville Tennessean, writes, “The buddy approach — matching up a new user with someone skilled at using the lift devices — boosted compliance. Baptist wound up reducing its patient handling injuries by more than 74 percent from 2008 to 2011.” Baylor herself exults, “We have not had any injuries since our pilot. It’s really a team project. We buddy up so that whenever we are using the lift, the chance of injury is nil.”

About the Author:

Ashley Stevens writes full-time for education blogs nationwide. If you’re interested in a career in health care, you might consider an online masters in nursing, like those programs offered by Ohio University and Georgetown University.

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Just stay sober. It’s easy for everybody to say, but it’s not that easy to do. If it were, then everybody would do it! If you or someone you know is trying to stay sober (or just get that way), then here are some tips that might help.

 

#1: Decide to do it (and really mean it).

Make the decision, and then write down all the good things that will come out of being sober. Next to each, write a reward that will come with it. Some examples:

–I’m going to be able to save money and get a new car.

–I’ll be on time for work every day; I can now work towards the promotion that I want.

–I will finally go back to painting, which will make me feel more peaceful.

#2: Do positive things for yourself – the more, the better.

Put some music on, light some candles and take a bubble bath (yes, guys can do it, too). Read that book you’ve wanted to read for a year and a half. Do something – anything – that will make you feel a little more special than you did yesterday.

#3: Get in touch with yourself spiritually.

This is something that is very important, and it’s not about religion! Connecting with yourself spiritually means finding out what makes you, you; what makes you unique. There are many ways to do this: yoga, meditating, going for a walk… Whatever it is that you have to do to get back to being you – find it, and do it.

#4: Redecorate your house.

A new place for a new you! Start with one room at a time, and go out and hit a thrift shop or a garage sale. You can get some great things at these types of places for very little money, and it’s amazing how much happiness you can find in the smallest of things.

#5: Establish new patterns for yourself.

Any positive change is good when you’re trying to stay sober. Buy some gourmet coffee (with the money you are saving by being sober), get up just a little earlier than normal and enjoy a great cup of coffee. Go to a park and have a picnic, join a league and go bowling, have a barbecue at your house and invite your sober friends and family. Do something positive that’s different.

#6: Surround yourself with people who care.

You always hear people say, “A great support system will help you, blah, blah, blah,” and you may feel like it’s just recovery garbage, but it is important to have people around you who support your decision and the progress you have made. Pick up the phone and call just one friend whom you really care about (a sober one), and try to reconnect. Having someone around to enjoy the new sober you is important.

#7: Don’t forget the music.

Seriously, music is the one thing that will always be there to make you feel good. Put it on while you’re getting ready for work. Crank it up while you’re doing the lousy dishes. Music will always make you feel better.

#8: Get outside!

Sometimes you may feel trapped inside the house, afraid to go outside (yes, even when you’re sober). Do it anyway. Run to the store, take a drive, go for a jog… anything to get yourself moving and out of the house.

#9: Clean the house!

Cleaning may be an evil, but a necessary one. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when the kitchen is clean when you get up in the morning and how good it feels to know that you did it!

#10: Do something for someone else.

There are people out there who need you. Older people especially love company, or you can join Big Brothers, Big Sisters and be a mentor for a child. Look for ways to help people.

When you achieve sobriety, you become part of the world again, and you can make it as special and real as you want it to be. You will realize that you are worth it, and being sober is the one thing that will make you feel that way.

No matter how you choose to spend your days, all that matters is that at the end of each one, you can say, “I stayed sober. There is no other thing harder to do, and I did it!” Because you can. You are working on becoming better than you have ever been and ever could have imagined. That right there makes it all worth it.

 

This Post was written and contributed by Ricky Stanton.  Ricky has over 10 years of experience helping people with their drug and alcohol rehab programs.  He hopes to continue to help educate others about the dangers of drug and alcohol addictions.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.