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The key to managing stress: identify causes and find simple solutions

  • Written by BPT

(BPT) - If there is one aspect of life in the modern world that affects all of us, it’s stress. In fact, it’s so prevalent and can have such a serious effect on our health, that April has been named Stress Awareness Month. Yet despite the potential negative effects of stress, it can also be beneficial.

Stress can lead to a wide variety of health conditions including impaired immune function, headaches, sleep problems, cardiovascular diseases, uncharacteristic anger, anxiety and even depression, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stress can also have a negative financial effect. It has been estimated that stress related medical expenses, lost wages and lost productivity among employers costs the U.S. economy upward of $300 billion per year.

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What is your ‘poop’ saying?

  • Written by submitted By Fred Russo, DAOM, LAc

How many times a day do you have a bowel movement? Are your stools formed or loose? Mr. Hanky may have been a ficticious character from the show South Park, but the quality and quantity of your stools are speaking to you about your state of health. The proper digestion and absorption of nutrients are essential. Dysfunction in the digestive system can cause a lowered immune system, fatigue, insomnia, and extreme mood swings.
Seventy percent of the cells that make up the body’s immune system are found in the wall of the gut, and what we eat may affect the body’s immune response. The normal bacteria in our large intestine contribute to bloating and gas production when carbohydrates are not completely absorbed in the small intestine.
There are many ways that you can improve your digestion and absorption. The first is portion control. There is an Okinawan saying: “Hara Hachi Bu” which translates into “Eat until you are eight parts full.”
This works well because it can take up to 20 minutes for your stomach stretch receptors to let you know that you are full. It is important to not overeat as this adds excessive stress to the digestive system to break down an unnecessary amount of food.
Eating whole foods instead of refined or processed foods will give you optimal health. Processed foods are convenient, but may use chemical additives and high fructose corn syrup for taste. These flavor enhancers are typically not absorbed well, which results in bloating and abdominal pain. Fiber rich fruits and vegetables help give you that bulky formed stool that will make you very proud. Whole foods are generally digested more easily and give you the nutrients that your body craves.
Drink plenty of water. Divide your weight in half and drink that amount in ounces each day. This will also improve elimination and help with detoxification.

We all know that exercising daily is important. Walking will improve your bowel movements. According to research published in the March 2008 issue of the “Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases,” walking speeds up your rate of digestion. This is because walking stimulates your midsection, thus helping your digestion system rise to the occasion. You can walk for as little as 15 minutes to help your body digest your meal faster.

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Your favorite abdominal exercises may be contributing to your back pain

  • Written by JIMMY MCCURRY, CSCS

Everyone knows it’s important to train the core. People have even been told that strengthening the core will help with back pain, which is true, but which exercises are good and which ones are bad? If you are suffering from back pain, I recommend picking up a copy of anything by Dr. Stuart McGill. Dr. McGill is a back pain expert who has revolutionized how we look at the body in terms of back health and longevity.  Dr. McGill states that there is only so much bending the spine can handle in a lifetime, so we need to spend as little time as possible bending with the low back under load. In short, doing endless crunches is not the right kind of core training. There are many exercises that I absolutely abhor and these exercises should not happen in any gym. The list of exercises not to do is too long for this article. Instead of stating all the bad things you can do for your spine in the name of training the “core,” let’s list the top three core exercises to stabilize the relationship between the hips and ribs.

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Is weight training safe for my kids?

  • Written by JIMMY MCCURRY, CSCS Progressive performance

There are three phrases I hear time and time again about youth training: “Is is safe for my kids to be lifting weights?” “Doesn’t that stunt their growth?” “Will my children even benefit from strength training if they have not gone through puberty?” I can assure every parent not to worry about any of these factors; your children will be safe lifting weights.
Injury risk to children participating in weight training was no higher than the risk posed from participating in other sports. In fact, studies have concluded that participating in resistance training or weight lifting posed less risk than other sports. The use of plyometrics (jumping, explosive movement) and weight training in youth actually decreases the injury risk to athletes on the field of play. These observations are predicated on the notion that qualified supervision and appropriate programming of strength training is implemented. A qualified strength coach will hold a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology or exercise science and be a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS).

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Alternative and Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Basic Primer

  • Written by SUBMITTED by MELANIE KRUEGER, omd, eamp, l.ac., LMP and LILITY deVEIGH, OMD, L.Ac., LMP, Shidoshiho

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the oldest, continually practiced, literate, secular medicine in practice today. It provides therapy for every aspect of healthcare from pre-natal through geriatric care, with specialties in every department in the hospitals of China, where Western and TCM doctors work in an integrated system.

History shows us that TCM grew out of massage and pressure techniques that became acupressure and finally the tui-na therapeutic massage and adjustment system. In the Stone Age, sharpened stones were used to press on the body, and when needles were made, they were used on what have become acupuncture points.

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