Health and Beauty Archives

Well, how about that!  Western science has shown that Yoga helps reduce back pain better than medication! 

In fact, the new guidelines from the American College of Physicians, states that people with back pain should avoid pain medicines if possible, and instead opt for alternatives such as tai chi, yoga and massage. Halleluiah!  Now, if we can get insurance companies to pay for these useful, preventative modalities we’d all be healthier. But then, insurance companies would lose money, and they don’t want that.

Those of us who are committed to our Yoga practice understand that this has been true for thousands of years and new science is simply catching up!

My classes and private sessions have been filled for years with people who are tired of taking or have no wish to get on strong, addictive drugs for their back pain and every one of them has found relief with the Yoga or Pilates exercises that I give them. AND not just back pain – neck and shoulders, hips, knees, etc. These happy people are the reason I continue to teach. They are why I wrote my book, “STOP Back Pain,” which has been on the Amazon bestseller list for most of five years. The human body benefits greatly from Yoga, which is the original Physical Therapy!

I read one article that talked about the need for more testing so that they can figure out which exercises, and exactly how, Yoga reduces back pain. OK……. I think it would be simpler if they just asked a Yoga teacher to explain. “Yoga” is not simply a series of physical exercises. It is a mind, body, spirit practice. What that means is that when people begin doing yoga, they learn to breathe more deeply which helps circulation; they learn ways to improve posture when sitting, standing, walking, etc. This benefits our spine health, heart health, AND circulation. After a few classes (taught by someone who is certified in Hatha Yoga) people begin to understand their own body more – how it works, what it needs and doesn’t need. This mind body connection means that when you shovel snow, move your furniture around, or in some way strain a muscle, you understand exactly where you have injured yourself and you know which exercises to do and how to help yourself. It is the complete practice of Yoga that helps people HEAL their back pain, not simply mask it with drugs.

I make note, above, about taking classes from a trained teacher, because I have seen some places like YMCA’s or gyms where a personal trainer had taken a weekend course (not properly certified) and then began teaching Yoga or even Pilates! These people do not have enough training to make sure that you are doing the postures correctly and they don’t know how to give you modifications so that you can do them without injury. They also usually only teach the physical postures and skip over the breathing and meditation parts and don’t remind you concentrate on rotating your leg in the hip socket instead of throwing the leg around with your hip, etc. So, when you take a class from an untrained person, you do not get the benefit of actually knowing your own body and what it needs. Every body is different!

If you’d like to know more about how to find the cause of your back or hip pain and what you can do to heal yourself, please feel free to ask. I offer coaching specific to back pain!

Today, I have also included a video of one Yoga pose that helps with lower back pain. Try it, you’ll like it!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Good News For A Change!

Fewer Teens Smoking and New Cancer Research!

I check the health news each week and I have to say that sometimes it's quite depressing. More young people dying from opioid overdoses, another mosquito borne illness detected, cancer spreading and spreading...

BUT, this week, there were two good news stories that I want to share with you!

The first is that according to the CDC, fewer teens and adolescents smoked either real cigarettes or "vapes" in 2016. In fact, this is the first time that number has dropped since they’ve been keeping records! “The decline in use of tobacco products was primarily driven by a drop in e-cigarette use among middle and high school students from 3 million in 2015 to just under 2.2 million in 2016,” the CDC report says. After so many years of increased teen smoking, this is indeed good news. And how did it happen, you may ask? Well, the theory of both the CDC and anti-smoking groups is that a combination of tobacco restrictions, advertising and taxes has helped reduce smoking rates. Personally, I don’t care what methods they use, as long as it keeps working! Wouldn’t it be great to see cigarette use stop completely in our lifetimes?

The second, “good news,” report is regarding cancer metastasis. Most of the time, people don’t die from that tumor in their breast, or spot on their back, but from the spread of those cancer cells to other parts of the body. Metastasis is that spread, and 90% of cancer deaths are caused when cancer metastasizes.

Hasini Jayatilaka was a student at Johns Hopkins a few years ago who discovered that when the cancer cells she was studying became too densely packed, some would break off and start spreading. She, along with a team of scientists from Johns Hopkins, have spent seven years studying this process, with a three dimensional model that mimics human tissue, rather than cells in a petri dish. Very cutting edge technology! Now, they have discovered the biochemical mechanism that tells the cancer cells to break off from the primary tumor and spread throughout the body (metastasis).

Even better news is that the team found two existing, FDA-approved drugs that slow metastasis significantly. That means a quicker approval for use with humans! So far, the results with mice have been marvelous.

Anything that can change the high numbers of our family members and friends who are dying from all types of cancer is not just good news, it’s GREAT news! Way to go Hasini!

Best of Health,

Kathi

 

Aack! I’m Being Eaten By A Tick?!

Scientists are predicting we'll be inundated with insects this year - oh joy!

I found a tick on me last weekend; can I tell you how much I HATE ticks?! It was not a deer tick, just a brown dog tick, but creepy nonetheless. Another one was on the dog when she came in from outside. She wears a flea and tick collar, but I guess that doesn't prevent those nasty buggers from hitching a free ride to another host...

The thing is, deer ticks, which cause Lyme disease, are not the only things we New Englanders have to worry about anymore. Brown dog ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Rickettsia rickettsia) to dogs, and we used to think not, to humans, but, like many things in nature, that is changing! According to the University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter Resource Center, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that a few years ago, in Arizona, the brown dog tick infected people – mostly children, with Rocky Mountain Fever. YIKES! More research is needed, but if that can happen in Arizona, and these little buggers live pretty much everywhere in the US... You get the picture. And don’t forget all the mosquitoes that carry diseases like Zika and West Nile. They are going to be plentiful this year as well.

So, naturally, I researched bug repellent again. Here's what I found:

Consumer Reports 2017 testing results showed that Ben's 30% DEET Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula kept Aedes mosquitoes (Zika virus) as well as Culex mosquitoes (night-time biters that can spread West Nile) and deer ticks (which can carry Lyme and other diseases) away for 7.5 hours. And, if you don’t want to be anywhere near DEET, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, containing 30 percent lemon eucalyptus, stopped them for 7 hours. I’ll take the Repel please.

I looked at our local Wall Mart, Home Depot, etc. and could not find that particular Repel product, so I ordered mine through Amazon, here’s the link: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus. The EWG and the CDC both recommend the same ingredients as those included in the Consumer Report; Deet or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (PMD).

Just remember that if you are putting bug spray on young children, apply it to your own hands first, then rub them on the child. Avoid the child's eyes and mouth. Use repellent sparingly around ears. Do not apply repellent to the child's hands, because children put their hands in their mouths all the time and wipe their eyes as well.

NOTE:  

There are a lot of bug repellents that say they have some form of Eucalyptus. Not all Eucalyptus oils are the same, however. The only one that actually repelled mosquitoes and ticks was the Repel listed above.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Fitness For Your Brain

One of the most interesting bits of information that I have come across when researching for my program on Neuroplasticity is the finding that the combination of aerobic exercise (not Yoga, Tai Chi, or even strength training) and a strong social network gives us a MUCH better chance of retaining good health AND keeping dementia at bay as we age.

The advancements in computer technology in our lifetime are great, and have enabled us to watch instructive videos and repair our own cars or appliances, write emails which arrive instantly, and have live chats with family and friends all over the world!

While the socialization part of this is good for us, the sitting part is not.

In 1969, René Dubos published his Pulitzer Prize winning book, So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Our Surroundings. After studying indigenous populations in remote locations, Dubos concluded that the secret to longevity was directly linked to social connectivity and physical activity. A handful of more recent studies have concluded the same.

Where do you fall in this category? Are you an avid walker, but work at home alone all day and have a limited social network? Or, maybe you have an active social circle who gathers for concerts, dinners, and/or travelling, but are mostly a couch potato?

Here are some examples of how we can integrate this new information into daily life:

Join, or start, a group exercise program. Walking clubs are nice. I am starting one in Otis soon. A group of women who walk together at least once a week, chatting, laughing together, solving all the problems of the world… You can bike or hike or swim together as well. Do what gives you joy, but do it with others as much as possible.

If you only need to add aerobic exercise, once again, it’s important to use what you have available and what fits into your schedule. If you try to make time to get to a gym, for instance, when you already have a busy schedule, then you might find it too difficult to continue going after a week or two. Perhaps a 30 minute walk at lunchtime would fit into your schedule better, or 20 minutes on your mini trampoline a few times a week, or walking to that selectman meeting, or library board meeting. Sometimes, I incorporate HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) training into my program by listening to an interesting program on my iPod while switching off between walking around the yard and running up the stairs to my studio; the time goes by quickly as I’m concentrating on what I’m learning while getting the exercise in. I have a brother-in-law who reads the paper while riding his stationary bike every day. Use that creative brain of yours to fit something in that doesn’t feel like another task you have to complete. And make it fun!

Whatever you chose to do – schedule it into your calendar! You Are Important! Your own health and well being is the most important job you have in life. If you are not healthy, you cannot care for others, nor participate in life as you wish. Make this appointment with yourself a regular habit by scheduling it in just as you would a dental appointment. You will be glad later in life if you start to take better care of yourself now. It’s never too late to start working out, especially working out with others, which is more fun and even healthier!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Is Being “Pain Free” Really Possible?

Is Being "Pain Free" Really Possible?

That depends on what those words mean to you.

Do I wake up with aches and a bit stiff sometimes? You betcha! I didn't get to be an adventurous 65 year old without sprains and breaks at some point. BUT, am I pain free? YES!

Because I know exactly what to do when some ache or pain comes back to haunt me and, just like Harry Potter’s wand, I can make it vanish more quickly.

There are exercises and relaxation or release techniques that can help all of us to be pain free - we just need to know which ones to use!

Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about specific aches and pains and how to deal with them when they arise so that you can heal yourself quicker too!

Today, we’ll start with wrists. Lots of people have weak wrists. Many think there’s nothing they can do about it, that’s it’s “old age.” Well, there’s not much I dislike more than being told that by a physician. I have switched docs when one said that.

So, for those who have wrist aches and pains, here are some tips:

  1. Often, wrist pain is due to a strain, as in overuse of certain muscles. Using our computers is an example of something that can cause stiff muscles and painful wrists. The key then is to release the tension in those muscles and rest the wrists. If you do this release immediately before bed, then those muscles have a chance to really rest before using them again.

  1. If your wrist bothers you when exercising, and it’s difficult to do a plank or cat/cow on your hands and knees, here’s another way to release those tense muscles in between rounds of exercises. This is also a good one to use periodically during the day, if you work at a computer all day.

 

Try these out and let me know how you like them!

Best of Health,

Kathi

To Gluten or Not To Gluten…

Have you thought about going gluten free? Have you wondered what all the buzz is about?

Well, I have just reached my one year anniversary of being gluten free. I originally went gluten free to see if it would help my psoriasis. Sadly, it has not. There have been other benefits that I hadn't counted on, though.

First of all, if you are wondering what the heck gluten is, I’ll tell you. Gluten is a protein found in wheat. It’s the “glue” that makes bread and pasta stick together and hold their shape. If you’ve tried making a sandwich with many of the gluten free breads, you can see exactly what I mean, as your bread crumbles apart instead of surrounding your filling. Pretty messy.

In some people, gluten triggers an autoimmune response that attacks the lining of the small intestine. This means that the body is unable to effectively absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to anemia, delayed growth, and weight loss. This is celiac disease and it’s very serious.

Other people can be gluten intolerant, which is less serious, but not much fun either. Gluten sensitivity can cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, "brain fog," and itchy skin rash. The skin rash part was why I originally stopped eating gluten, hoping that mine would get better.

Going gluten free is not as difficult as you might think. There are lots of foods that are naturally gluten-free, for example, fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat, fish and poultry, unprocessed beans, seeds and nuts, and the majority of dairy products. Many grains: buckwheat, corn, flax, quinoa, rice, soy, arrowroot, and millet are gluten free. There are bread and pasta choices that are made with these naturally gluten free grains.

A Mediterranean diet, which many docs believe is the best thing for us includes tons of veggies and fruit, a little bit of meat, poultry or fish (protein), and a bit of grains as well. I love veggies and fruits, as well as quinoa and rice. Ronzoni also makes a gluten free pasta that’s quite good, so I have no trouble staying on this type of diet.

A 2011 study, conducted by Peter Gibson and colleagues from Monash University in Australia, concluded that Gluten Intolerance might be a legitimate disorder, after finding participants that consumed gluten experienced increased bloating and fatigue. But then a small study done in 2013 found just the opposite, so the reality is that more, larger studies need to be done in order for us to know if gluten is a problem for many or not.

What I can tell you is that I have more energy without the gluten. I have two students who went gluten free to rid themselves of skin rashes. Both rashes went away, PLUS, they both feel less fatigued as well.

I will also say that I am not totally without. If I am out somewhere and I want to order a lovely Italian dish with pasta, I order it and enjoy it. I no longer consume gluten on a regular basis, but I don’t deprive myself of something I enjoy, occasionally.

If you want to try it, just to see what you may experience, go ahead. It’s pretty easy and you don’t have to buy special food, unless you want the gluten free bread or pasta. Try it for at least 30 days and see if you feel any different.

So the jury is still out on gluten. Right now, in spite of all the advertising urging you to buy high priced gluten free products, unless you have celiac disease, there is not a lot of evidence that gluten is bad for you. Have you gone gluten free? Are you going to try gluten free? If you did or are, drop me a line and let me know about your experience and I’ll share it with the group.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Pilates Proven To Help Back Pain!

So many people with back and or neck pain, and so many options for relief that they have not been told about...

It’s frustrating when you go your doctor, get an examination and a referral to a specialist, then go through more test and exams with that doc – sometimes after waiting months for your appointment, and then get yet another referral to a surgeon who then does more tests…

Well, many of you know the scenario. It happens all the time. STOP!

I have been saying for years “you DON”T have to live with back pain!”

My STOP Back Pain book, as well as my DVD and programs, have helped hundreds of people so far, and I’m aiming for thousands!

I have a good friend who suffered with back pain, went through months of docs, tests, etc., and then had surgery, but still has the same pain! She now says she would not have chosen to have the surgery if she’d known it would not heal her pain.

Unfortunately, her story is one I have heard over and over; but people are afraid of treatments that are not covered under their insurance. They have listened to their doctors tell them that there is no proof any of the complimentary modalities work. Notice I used the word “complimentary,” not alternative. There is so MUCH “anecdotal” proof for these complimentary therapies, in fact, that they cannot be called anecdotal any more, but because your doc did not learn about these modalities in medical school, in his or her mind, they do not exist. What a shame. I explain many of these therapies in my book. But some doctors are beginning to realize this, seeing the evidence, and some are even recommending things like acupuncture, chiropractic, Pilates or Yoga. Things are changing, just not very fast.

With that said, modern medical technology is amazing and can help a person get a definitive diagnosis, so don’t ditch your doc quite yet! Just remember that you are the head of your medical team and coordinating your care is part of the job you must do to get well.

I’ve had clients come into one of my Pilates classes so frightened of making their pain worse that they were literally shaking in their shoes. Chronic pain, especially back pain, is my specialty though, and I understand how to calm beginners and modify the exercises for them, so that they begin to feel better and eventually are not afraid and then we can begin to heal their pain.

As for the science behind what I do, here’s a study which showed improved core strength and stability, posture and balance, and fewer pain symptoms in people with chronic lower back pain, who took Pilates classes three times a week for 14 weeks. I have seen people’s back pain reduced with only one class a week, and one suggested exercise in between. It takes longer, maybe six months or so, but it can be done – WITHOUT SURGERY OR OPIODS!

Another study showed that a Pilates exercise program reduced back pain more than other interventions. This particular study looked at 128 scholarly articles on the topic, chose 29 to use in their analysis, and concluded “We found that there is a dearth of studies that clearly demonstrate the efficacy of a specific Pilates exercise program over another in the treatment of chronic pain. However, the consensus in the field suggests that Pilates method is more effective than minimal physical exercise intervention in reducing pain.

I agree. Pilates does help.

I also use Yoga exercises for my clients with great success. All Yoga and Pilates exercises can be modified to help people who are stiff and sore, who haven’t worked out in a long time, who are in pain and/or scared of exacerbating their pain. Relief is possible!

Please don’t simply take any old Pilates class, however. There are some out there who have taken a weekend training course and then go forth and teach Pilates classes. These people are not really trained. ALWAYS check your instructor’s credentials. If you have questions about their certifications, drop me a note and I’ll happily check for you. There are some GREAT certification programs out there now, and I’ll be happy to look at your instructors and let you know if they have had sufficient training to help you.

If you’d like to work with me either in person, or via SKYPE, please contact me HERE.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Is Your Brain Plastic!?

The progress that medical science has made in recent years is truly amazing to me. From using 3D medical technology to replace lost limbs and heart valves, to the deeper understanding of brain plasticity (neuroplasticity) and how we can repair brain damage that was previously thought permanent... This is definitely the stuff that sci-fi movies were made of when I was a kid!

While I have been studying neuroplasticity of the brain on my own, I am also taking a course where I'm learning how to use it to change some of the pathways that years of habit have made in my own brain. All I can say is - WOW!

What I am finding is, that in addition to the changes I am working on in the course, other changes (new pathways) are automatically forming for other habits I have wanted to change, but have only thought about so far. “Wow” just isn't a strong enough word! Check out Homer's tracks, or pathways; looks like he may need to change a few of those to remain healthy! 🙂

Through the discovery of neuroplasticity, we now know that we are literally reforming our brains with each passing day. Our brains enjoy the remarkable ability to reorganize pathways, create new connections and, in some cases, even create new neurons throughout our entire lifetime. Isn’t that a kick?!

So, in other words, our brains can change and adapt in response to new experiences. This type of brain plasticity is called Structural Plasticity, and it refers to our amazing brain's ability to actually change its physical structure as a result of learning. This is what the course I am taking is all about and it is just cooler than cool!

Just think about the possibilities this opens up for us Baby Boomers! Many of us watched our parents or other close family members suffer with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, and we sure don’t want to go down that path ourselves!!

Well, we can start right away by making new pathways, or tracks, in our brains, learning new skills, improving on our personal habits, and keep our brains as plastic as possible. There are new courses being developed daily now to help us do exactly that. In fact, I am developing a 30 day course myself based upon what I’ve learned recently, and adding a few tools that have been successful in helping my coaching clients make positive changes, like EFT.

The good news is that I will be offering it free of charge during the planning stages, to a small group of people, in exchange for your feedback and testimonials. I am very excited about this course and the possibilities it brings! When completed, the course will sell for $99.

If you are interested in being part of the test group, please drop me an email (info@HealthyBoomerBody.com) and include your telephone number so that we can chat for a few minutes about the course.

Best of Health,

Kathi

 

Can Your Mind Really Heal Your Body?

I'm sure you've heard things said before like, "mind over body" or, "your mind can heal anything," but do you ever think to yourself, "that's easier said than done!" After all, if you're like most people, you don't have time to sit around like a Buddist Monk, meditating for hours a day, focusing on healing your body. So how exactly do you apply it to your life?

Well, I want to share a video with you today that will reveal some startling research on just how powerful the mind is over the body. This video will also introduce a grounded, everyday technique that you can use to help your mind keep your body healthy.

It's a video of Dr. Lissa Rankin, M.D., a traditionally trained medical doctor who specializes in understanding the mind-body connection, and Nick Ortner, producer of the upcoming 9th annual Tapping World Summit, to discuss her findings in her book, “Mind Over Medicine,” and the implications they have for all of us, both the "seemingly" healthy, and those with health challenges. If you’ve been receiving my newsletter for a while, you may remember Dr. Lissa from my telesummit on healing chronic pain a few years back. This video is being released in the lead up to the 9th Annual Tapping World Summit. They have some very interesting dialogue where Dr. Lissa shares her latest research, and her perspective on what is happening in the mind and body when people are doing EFT Tapping. I’ve talked about EFT before, in my newsletter, and you know that I highly recommend using it on a regular basis.

Tapping, most commonly known as EFT or Emotional Freedom Techniques, is a type of energy psychology that combines eastern medicine and modern psychology. It is extremely effective with both physical issues (back pain, headaches, etc.) and emotional issues.

Here’s what you’ll get from today’s video with Lissa and Nick:

- You'll hear about what Dr. Lissa has learned from studying over 3,500 cases of "spontaneous remission" and what the research both tells us, and isn't telling us, about why people get sick or healthy.

- You'll discover the nine common characteristics that people with "spontaneous remission" have, and why they're critical to know for both sick people and healthy people.

- You'll learn about the only two modes that our nervous system can be in, and how in one of them, our bodies’ self-repair mechanism literally shuts down! And the scary part is that most people tend to get stuck in this shut down mode (she'll explain why and how you can get out of it).

- You'll hear about why some of her supposedly "healthiest" clients (exercising, eating well, meditating, etc) were getting sick and the big "aha" moment she had about what was causing it all.

- Near the end Dr. Lissa will blow your mind by redefining what "placebo" actually is and how most scientific studies are not digging deep enough into what is going on with the mind and body.

Watch this video HERE, I know you'll love it!

Best of Health,

Kathi

World Tapping Summit PreviewVideo

Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet!

With the start of each new year, many of us take an inventory of what we've accomplished in the past year, contemplate where we'd like to go this year, and then set some goals for ourselves. It's a tradition that has been around for at least as long as I've been alive...

The problem is that, often, we start the year out really great, but by March we've gotten off track, and from then on we don't even look at our goals again until December. But, is there a better way? Yes, I believe there is.

This year, set your goals, but make at least some of them into what Jack Canfield has labeled "Daily Disciplines." Daily disciplines sounds serious, it's a way to make new habits that will help us to stay on track. For instance, if one of your goals is to work out more, and maybe another goal is to keep the dishes from piling up in the sink, then make a new daily habit of getting up ten minutes earlier. Ten minutes is not that much - you can do that! Then, every day, you will have that ten treasured minutes to either wash the dishes in the sink, or choose a ten minute yoga routine, or do some push-ups, or... Just think of the possibilities! Ten minutes doesn't seem like much, but it can make a big difference! I can tell you from personal experience that you'll feel better when you see the dishes done or when you know that you've done at least ten minutes of exercise. Every new habit must start with small steps and these ten minutes are a great start.

Another good daily discipline is to save 3-5 minutes at the end of the day, right before bed, to check in with how your day went. Keep a notebook and pen by your bed stand and just before you go to bed write down something you did that was a genuine act of kindness, another accomplishment that you are proud of, something good that you did which helps you meet the goals you set for yourself, and two more items (5 total) that you are proud of, or that make you feel good about yourself. This will also put you in the right state of mind to get a better night's sleep!

I also find that setting up a reward for yourself for having done your daily disciplines helps to keep the momentum going through the year. Some rewards that I have used include taking a long epsom salts bath at the end of a week where I kept my daily disciplines every day. Another is getting a massage or reflexology treatment, or something else I consider special, if I've kept my daily disciplines going for 60 days. Use your imagination and choose some rewards for yourself that will be enticing enough to keep you going!

In the meantime, here is a five minute series of exercises that gets the heart pumping and works muscles you didn't know you had! Repeat twice for a ten minute routine!

Best of Health,

Kathi

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