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Fitness

Lymphatic Massage at ICOHS College

What Is a Lymphatic Drainage Massage? [Info & Benefits]

By Community, Fitness, Health No Comments

A cleansing experience that promotes wellness and relaxation

Although massage therapy is a familiar practice amongst most individuals, in particular, those interested in more holistic ways of living, the term lymphatic drainage massage may not seem as intuitive. This immensely cleansing form of massage therapy is commended for its plethora of voiced benefits which help to stimulate the body’s natural lymphatic system.

But what on Earth is a lymphatic system and what is it responsible for? Why are lymphatic drainage massages even performed? In this article, we will be answering all of these burning questions.

What Is the Lymphatic System?

In order to better understand what a lymphatic drainage massage is and what it does, first one must conceptualize the lymphatic system and its responsibilities throughout the body.

The word lymph in Latin actually means “clear water”, so it comes as no surprise that the lymphatic system contains lymph fluid that is carried throughout the lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels of the body. Lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes are two parts that make up a bigger system, known as the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system has a few major duties including helping large molecules such as lipids and hormones enter into the blood, returning fluid back to the heart, and surveilling the immune system which in turn prevents infection and other sicknesses from entering as easily.

With this all being said, it is quite obvious that the lymphatic system is definitely an important one.

 

All About the Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic drainage massage is much as its name implies; this form of massage therapy stimulates the lymphatic system, encouraging it to work faster. This system moves lymph fluid throughout the entire body, dispelling any toxins that may have accumulated within the cells.

The body naturally undergoes two processes of circulation, first arterial and then venous, and the specialized stimulation that is generated by a lymphatic drainage massage mimics circulation, acting as a third wave.

As the body is once more awakened, so are the lymph vessels and nodes, and the result is a natural drainage that takes place after the massage. Why does this become beneficial? Certain medical conditions, in particular, can generate a buildup of lymph fluid, so draining this liquid by means of a specialized massage technique is said to be helpful.

 

The Potential Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

While many do claim that lymphatic drainage massage possesses certain key benefits for the body, it is important to remember that actual scientific evidence of the efficacy of manual lymphatic drainage massage is limited. In fact, an article published in 2009 in The Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy states, “manual lymphatic drainage techniques remain a clinical art founded upon hypotheses, theory, and preliminary evidence.”

With this in mind, the benefits we are about to cover are widely based on the personal experiences of those who have received lymphatic drainage massage or upon hypotheses, theories, and preliminary evidence.

Lymphatic drainage massage and other decongestive lymphatic therapies (DLTs) are said to reduce swelling and increase circulation throughout the body, primarily any systems connected with the lymphatic system.

Some lymphatic drainage massage therapists also suggest that this technique decreases the appearance of not only swelling but also cellulite, so aside from the claimed health advantages, this style of massage therapy also may possess a more aesthetic purpose.

Although evidence is limited, the following conditions may benefit from lymphatic drainage massage procedures:

Stress and insomnia
Any digestive challenges
Fibromyalgia and arthritis
Pain and swelling, in addition to migraines
Lymphedema
Various skin disorders

Be sure to always communicate confidently and clearly with your massage professional so that they understand your intentions in receiving lymphatic drainage massage, as well as any medical conditions you may possess. This will help to make sure you get the most out of your treatment.

 

Do Not Opt for Lymphatic Drainage Massage If…

If you have been diagnosed with any medical condition, it is extremely important to consult with your doctor or medical professional before scheduling a lymphatic drainage massage appointment. Those with congestive heart failure, circulatory problems, blood clots, kidney challenges, or any type of infection should NOT opt for lymphatic drainage massages because this could potentially become dangerous.

Preparing for a Lymphatic Drainage Massage? Keep This in Mind…

If you are in favor of lymphatic drainage massage and its purported benefits, you may have gone forth with setting up an appointment to experience this form of bodywork for yourself.

Whether this is the case, or if you intend to soon arrange a lymphatic drainage massage, there are a few tips you may want to keep in mind prior to your appointment:

Drink plenty of water during the hours leading up to your scheduled massage appointment. Massage can generate dehydration, so you will want to also consume H2O afterward to replenish any fluids lost throughout the treatment. Additionally, drinking the appropriate amount of water daily encourages the lymphatic system to work accordingly, greater promoting self-healing.
Lymphatic drainage massage can leave you feeling quite tired, so try and schedule your appointment on a day where you can take it easy post-treatment. Get some rest, have a nap, and maybe even hit the hay early that day.
Depending on what is within your comfort zone, try to wear as few articles of clothing as possible during your lymphatic drainage massage because your massage therapist will need to be able to easily access the majority of your body during the therapy.

Final Thoughts on What a Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Now that you know more about lymphatic drainage massage you can decide whether or not this would be the right massage therapy technique for you. Although there is a loyal fanbase that stands behind regularly receiving lymphatic drainage massage treatments, this style of massage therapy certainly is not tailored to all.

While there are available methods of performing lymphatic drainage massage on yourself, it is always recommended to schedule an appointment with a professional massage therapist that specializes in this technique, as to ensure the results you desire are accomplished. Normally upon meeting with a professional, they will inquire about your medical history and ask for your reasons for requesting a lymphatic drainage massage. From there, the two of you can devise a plan and schedule together that would be best suited to your personal needs.

Interested in studying massage or holistic health? Searching for massage schools in San Diego? ICOHS is a non-profit vocational college offering programs to become either a holistic health practitioner or a professional massage therapist.

Our dedicated and passionate educators create a personalized experience for each student, helping them to reach their career goals. Reach out today and request more information.

Hot Stone Massage Therapy

Hot Stone Therapy: Understanding This Massage Practice

By Fitness, Health No Comments

A Quintessential Complement to a Relaxing Massage

There are many known benefits of massage therapy, from improved circulation and reduced stress to stimulation of the lymphatic system and increased joint flexibility. Many medical resources encourage readers to get massages, including Mayo Clinic and WebMD, and the major reason why is because people seem to be noticing a difference.

As the practice of massage continues to expand throughout the Western world, many variations of the treatment have come to light. From deep tissue and sports massage to Swedish and Thai massage to craniosacral therapy, there is an extensive number of techniques along with qualified specialists who are skilled at their respective styles of bodywork.

One form of massage therapy, known as hot stone therapy, has become a restorative, relaxing, and rejuvenating favorite. In order to encourage a better understanding of this massage practice, in this article we discuss hot stone therapy, explaining what exactly it consists of, along with the potential benefits of this treatment.

What Is Hot Stone Therapy?

Hot stone therapy is the practice of using heat-retaining flat rocks, typically basalt, on specific regions of the body (often referred to as acupressure points.) Hot stone therapy often begins with deep tissue massage (such as Swedish massage) to loosen tight areas of the body. Then, flat river stones that have been warmed between 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit are aligned along the spine, palms of the hands, bottoms of the feet, and close to the toes. Your massage therapist may place them in other regions of the body as well, but usually, the spine is the most common region of application.

The stones are warmed in a specialized stone heater, which looks much like a crockpot. This is done to better control the temperature of the rocks in order to prevent any chances of burns or scalding.

Massage professionals do not use hot plates, microwaves, or ovens to warm the rocks, so to avoid injury, be sure to look out for any mispractice that might take place amongst inexperienced massage therapists.

Hot Stone Therapy: The Benefits

Due to the immensely relaxing nature of hot stone therapy, it possesses a number of benefits. The primary way in which this treatment helps is by loosening muscles, which is ideal for those who have aches and pains on the body.

Although many do receive hot stone therapy because of the benefits it might provide, their accounts of success are more so personal for research is seriously lacking. That is not to say, however, that it does not exist.

Moderate-pressure massage, which hot stone therapy does qualify as has been said to assist with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. A 2013 study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice reported that participants with arthritis felt less pain after a mere month of medium pressure massage.

In addition to physical pain, hot stone massage is also at times linked to potentially reduced stress, and in turn, reduced anxiety and an overall better mood. A study published Bowling Green State University in 1997 found that those who received a 15-minute chair massage during a break were reportedly less stressed than those who did not and merely rested on their break.

Although related specifically to the broad description of massage, a 2014 study published in the journal Sleep Science found that postmenopausal women who were dealing with difficult insomnia slept better after receiving a massage, expressing it is a promising solution for such applications.

In addition to potentially reducing stress or anxiety, improving insomnia, and lessening various aches and pains, receiving a hot stone massage is a pleasant experience, particularly for those who enjoy receiving rejuvenating bodywork and find it to be effective.

While these studies mentioned are all a start, they do not fully confirm that hot stone therapy is a treatment for any of the above referenced medical conditions. As always, communicate with your doctor first if you determine that massage or hot stone therapy is the right option for your medical needs.

 

How to Practice Hot Stone Therapy

The process of application throughout a hot stone therapy appointment is fairly straight forward and normally unfolds in the following steps:

You will arrive at your appointment and the receptionist will have you fill out a health questionnaire if you are a first-time client.

Someone will guide you into a dressing room where you can prepare for your massage by removing your garments. Begin to relax already, the massage will be soon.

Your massage therapist will greet you and have you get situated comfortably on the massage table.

The massage therapist will have heated basalt or smooth stones in a specialized stone warmer which will heat the rocks to 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit typically.

Your massage therapist will likely begin the massage by performing some type of deep tissue technique, for instance, Swedish massage. They may then refer to an anatomy chart for stone placement or simply place the stones on the acupressure points along the body that are most tailored to you.

Your massage therapist will likely ask you how you are feeling throughout the massage, but you should always remember to speak up and ask for any adjustments as desired.

The hot stones will be placed along the body and then rubbed into the tissues and muscles of the body to further stimulate healing, recovery, and rejuvenation. Because of the oils and application, the smooth rocks will slide with ease and the experience is often said to be comforting.

Some things to note:

Consider arriving a bit earlier to your appointment. Allow sufficient time to speak with the receptionist if need be, as well as prepare mentally and physically for such a relaxing experience. Spas often require you to fill out a questionnaire if you are a first time client, so you do not want to feel rushed or in a hurry right before your treatment. Arriving well in advance (10 minutes is plenty) will save yourself from any extra stress.

Communicate clearly with your massage therapist. Are you experiencing pain? Are the stones too hot? Speak up and let your specialist know right away! Hot stone therapy, although at times a little intense, should not be painful or uncomfortable. Although sometimes deep tissue massage can feel overwhelming, it should not leave you suffering. Your massage therapist wants your experience to be as pleasant as possible and this can be further achieved with a straightforward transmission of how you are feeling.

Drink plenty of water after your treatment! The heat from the stones can be at times dehydrating, and in general, it is important for the body to rehydrate after any form of bodywork. Opting for an herbal, caffeine-free tea is also a delightful and health-inducing way to unwind after a massage.

Use Your Discretion with Hot Stone Therapy

Hot stone therapy is not right for everyone. In fact, those who have heart disease, migraines, arthritis, decreased pain sensitivity, metal implants, tumors, diabetes, or high blood pressure should not agree to receive hot stone therapy. Please consult your doctor beforehand if you intend to get hot stone therapy and have a medical condition.

Understanding Hot Stone Therapy: Final Words

Overall, many clients experience hot stone therapy as a pleasant and refreshing body treatment that helps knots, aches, and pains release because of deeper applied pressure and increased heat. Although not the right option for everyone, those who are fond of deep tissue massage and intense application of pressure generally really enjoy hot stone therapy, and some claim the heat from the rocks is comforting and soothing.

Interested in becoming a licensed massage therapist? Searching for massage schools or career colleges in San Diego? ICOHS College is a non-profit vocational school offering a Professional Massage Therapist program. Our dedicated educators are passionate about supporting students on their journey towards reaching their career goals.

Reach out today and request more information to learn more about the Professional Massage Therapist program.

How Massage can Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Sufferers

By Fitness No Comments

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that starts at the pancreas and affects many functions of the body. The main problem caused by CF is mucus buildup of the lungs. Along with physical problems, CF also greatly affects a person‘s attitude and behavior. A great deal of CF patients suffer from anxiety and depression. With all of the factors in the day-to-day life of a patient with cystic fibrosis, Massage has been known to help greatly!

From the hard to breathe or wheezing to the rapid vigorous coughing of a CS patient, many people with this illness experience much Chest and back pain, sore rhomboids and traps, and extensive strain of that lotta miss dorsi. This is all test due to the fact that the coughing strained some muscles, and the bending over from coughing overly stretches the lats. To relieve some of this pain a massage therapist should lay the client prone and do some slow, deep circulatory massage on the main muscles of the back. This will loosen the client up enough to cough comfortably and relax those muscles that have been in a sympathetic state for so long. Another great thing the therapist can do is tapotements. Tapotements along the erector spinae and across where the Longs lay, will loosen up some of the stuck and uncomfortable mucus for the client to dispose of.

When dealing with the disease, you may also find your client suffers from anxiety and or depression. This is common in the CF her because the body is always in fight or flight mode, they are tired from physical demands of the body and physical errands such as long hospital visits, or being scared of death or sad that they don’t have a typical lifestyle. To help with some of that, Massage is very comfortable for someone with CF. Massage brings a natural release of depression by allowing the client to feel a safe trusting touch from the therapist. It’s a common fact that even babies left alone without touch, don’t live long, so why wouldn’t it help to relieve and bring comfort to a patient suffering from physical and terminal illness? It’s likely your client will feel better after a massage even if their muscles had nothing to gain from.

Though there is no certain Contraindication, CF patients often end up with diabetes and that could be a contraindication. Make sure to check medications and levels of diabetes for safe touch

The everyday life of a person with cystic fibrosis is high stress, painful, and sometimes discouraging. With regular massage, you can offer your patients body to finally start to relax. You can offer peace of mind with your professional and caring touch. Massage might be a vital tool to help your client live a more comfortable and calm her life.  Now that you’ve found out how massage can benefit cystic fibrosis sufferers, find out how you can get involved at ICOHS College.

The 3 Neglected Needs – Part 2: “Hydration”

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The 3 Neglected Needs – Part 2: “Hydration”

By: J Emanuel Hodge MSAOM, HHP

Have you noticed that if you down a whole lot of water quickly, all at once, you will run to the restroom in very a short amount of time?

I’m sure you’ve heard that we need to drink 1/2 our body weight of water in ounces. So, if you are 200 lbs, you drink 100 oz of water to ensure that you are getting the right amount of water to stay hydrated, correct? However, this is ideal at your inactive rate per quantity of water, that means without activity, sugary drinks, coffee, etc. Add a single cup or two of those “dehydrants” and they will cause dehydration.

We’ve heard we need to drink 8 cups of water a day to ensure proper hydration. People tend to drink 4 cups really fast or drink all 8 cups like in a competition.  If we think of the body as we think of a dried plant that needs to be watered, by pouring a lot of water into the plant, it will only run through and not much will be absorbed by the plant. However, if we pour a little water, wait a little, pour some more and wait a little, and do once more you’ll notice that the plant would have no puddles but would have absorbed most of, if not, all the water. I have encouraged my clients to take 3 full sips of water per hour, holding each sip of water in the mouth for 10 real seconds before you swallow, 3 times consecutively. From a physiological perspective, the action of holding water in your mouth activates the salivary glands, which prepares the stomach acids for digestion, absorption and optimizes circulation and hydration of the body. In conjunction with the 1st Neglected Need – Breath, it really helps to release or ease body tensions.

True Hydration, Breath and Movement awareness is the key for living our greatest potential

In Chinese Medicine and Holistic Health practices, it is said you need to “chew your water”. This process works from a practical Chinese Medicine understanding that the tongue has all the organ associations: the tip of the tongue is the heart association, right behind that is the lung association, and at the center of the tongue is the stomach association. At the back of the tongue resides the intestines, kidney and bladder associations. At the sides of the tongue, the liver and gallbladder associations. These associations coincide with the meridians (energy pathways that have the same name associations) that overlay the entire body. Granted these associations can be depicted on the feet or palms in reflexology, on the face in physiognomy, face reading, eyes in iridology and the ears in auricular system. Every part of the body has an association with the entire body and its organs.

Back to the tongue and hydration optimization…if the tongue has these organ associations and you hold water in your mouth, it should not be a surprise that through association you nourish each organ.

When patients experience cramping (stagnate blood), nausea or lightheadedness (low blood) I recommend them to hold alkaline water in their mouth for 10 seconds or more for three times consecutively. And as mentioned in the “Neglected Need 1 – Breath”, exhale with “Hawww” releasing sound three times consecutively.

Our body is like a heat generator and the areas of pain and dysfunction tend to cause slowed or stagnated function, like pain or cramping, which we can term segmented dehydration. Segmented because the whole body is not dehydrated, and there is a heated build up that needs to be cooled to flow and a cold block or slowed area that hinders the smooth flow of energy, heat, blood, body fluids, etc. All related to the traditional Chinese Medicine circulatory system. Holding the water in your mouth cools the excess heat and in conjunction with proper Breath, releases the contraction and opens the circulation, while regulating the body’s temperature, improving blood flow, organ functions, digestive functions and alleviation of most pain, cramping, lightheadedness or nausea.

Hydration, Breath, and Movement incorporate the 3 Neglected Needs. When they are properly addressed, they provide pain alleviation and better functionality of the whole body. Proper Hydration makes the difference between staying in constant pain, passing out from lack of circulation or being thirsty all the time.

How MCT Oil Can Benefit Your Holistic Health Regimen

By Fitness, Health No Comments

MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride oil) is a supplement that is steadily growing in popularity amongst health, fitness, and holistic communities. It is an oil that possesses fats that are medium-length chains and are typically derived from coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products. This easily digestible structure is said to possess certain health benefits, which can accompany a holistic health regimen. Although not all care for MCT oil, it has regularly been an integral part of the ketogenic diet (keto) and many individuals swear by this supplement due to its valued potential health benefits. If you’re exploring the option of adding MCT oil into your daily holistic health regimen, continue reading to find out more about this amazing supplement!

 

  1. Utilize MCT oil as an effective weight loss aid.

 

Losing weight can be challenging for many individuals, and although there are endless products marketing to aid in weight loss, many of them are potentially harmful or even dangerous for the body. For this reason, finding a natural alternative that can assist in losing weight is an incredible discovery, and as science seems to show, MCT may be used as a weight loss aid.

  • A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that “Clinical studies have shown that consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCTs) leads to greater energy expenditure than does the consumption of long-chain triacylglycerols. Such studies suggest that MCT consumption may be useful for weight management.”
  • Another report written by Wang et al. states, “It has been shown that MCT plays a role in lowering weight, and decreasing metabolic syndrome, abdominal obesity and inflammation.”

 

  1. Boost your brain power and get your tasks done.

 

Life can often times become stressful with so many tasks to complete every week, not to mention any emotional, personal, and mental challenges that can enter the mix. At times, some may feel like their brain needs a little extra boost. Being able to strengthen your brain power not only helps you get more done but it also, in turn, decreases stress and anxiety levels because procrastination has less of an opportunity to affect you. The better we are at staying on top of the workload and maintaining a balance, the more enjoyable life becomes often times. This is where MCT oil might just be able to play its role. Some studies have shown the potential of medium-chain triglyceride oil to boost brain power so that you can get what you need to complete accomplished. Because MCT oil turns into ketones when it enters the body, it has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier easily, thus powering up the brain quickly. This extra added power can, in turn, be used to get the tasks you want to complete accomplished.

  • A report published in BMC Neuroscience states, “Ketone bodies are an efficient alternative fuel for cells that are unable to metabolize glucose or are ‘starved’ of glucose.” Ketones essentially raise the blood level of ketones, therefore assisting the brain in greater energy production.

 

  1. Improve the quality of your workout or fitness program.

 

Maintaining a regular fitness regimen and committing to frequent exercise is an important part of staying healthy. MCT oil may be able to provide assistance in improving the quality of a workout or fitness program. While long-chain triglycerides may not be able to be all there for you, medium-chain triglycerides can potentially amplify things to the next level.

  • In a study published by the Journal of Nutrition, after fed an MCT-enhanced diet, mice performed better in a swimming endurance test, increasing their swim capacity. This suggests that MCT oil may potentially increase endurance in not only mice but humans as well.

 

  1. Prevent heart disease and live your best life.

 

Around 610,000 people die from heart disease every year in the United States alone, so tragically it can be said that heart disease is a serious condition that affects many individuals globally. Science shows that a healthy diet, regular exercise, limiting alcohol and refraining from smoking all help to prevent heart disease, but additionally some evidence expresses that MCT oil may potentially prevent heart disease, supporting you to live your very best life.

  • A study conducted by Bourke et al. discovered that the consumption of MCT oil improved the “overall cardiovascular risk profile of overweight women.”
  • Another article published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming MCTs was more effective at reducing markers of cardiovascular disease in hypertriglyceridemic patients in comparison to if long-chain triglycerides were consumed (LCTs).

 

Although more studies do need to be conducted in regards to the ways in which MCT oil can impact and improve day to day life and challenges that arise, there is some hope and promise in regards to how this dietary supplement is already expressing its ability to be of aid.

 

If you are located in the San Diego, California area and are interested in becoming a holistic health practitioner, ICOHS is a non-profit, accredited vocational school offering a specialized, tailored-to-you Holistic Health Practitioner program. Reach out to ICOHS today and request more information.

 

The 3 Neglected Needs – Part 1: “Breath”

By Fitness, Health No Comments

Have you ever caught yourself holding your breath while concentrating, focusing or just in your day to day activities?
It is really amazing that in this day and age we are so busy that we forget the life-saving miracle of breathing.
Yes, Breathing. I know that we tend to think; ‘if wasn’t breathing, I would be dead’ how true that is!
However, The quality of breath can make the difference between having a heart attack, High Blood Pressure, alleviating unexpected sharp pains, releasing tension and stress and it can also be used to help you assess if your pain needs emergency attention or not.

A quote I like states:
“focusing on the act of breathing clears the mind of all daily distractions and clears our energy enabling us to better connect with the spirit within.” Unknown Author.

The type of breath taken makes a difference when we’re talking about pain, discomfort or stress alleviation. In our modern hustle and bustle, dead-lined, rush to do’s, to complete or to maintain mostly causes us to sustain our lives with shallow breathing or intermittent breathing. I propose at the minimum we take 3 deep intentional breaths every hour. Know that, these breaths require you to breathe in through your nostrils and exhale a Hawww releasing Sound out of your mouth. (not a Whoo, shoo or light controlled release; just a Hawww releasing sound 3 times consecutively per hour. Yes, other sounds can be adapted for varying focuses.

In Chinese medicine, we have elementals/meridian/organ sounds. The meridians are associated and or resonate with each organ sound. On the meridians are Points that when stimulated can produce specific and desired outcomes based on the goal or reason they are utilized. There are varying ways to utilize sound and or elemental sounds.

In Chinese medicine when in good health one practice is cycle breathing of the sounds in the order of the 5 elements, 5 Transformations or 5 generation cycle in the element rotation to maintain good health: these sounds are She/(Xū) associates with (Wood/Liver/or springtime)→ Hawww/(Hē) sound associates with (Fire/Heart/summer time)→ Whoo/(Hū) sound associates with (Earth/SP/St/or all seasons)→ sssss/(Sī) sound associates with (Metal/Lungs/Autumn time)→ shu/(Chuī) sound associates with (Water/Kidneys/Winter time) and the → Sheee/(Xī) sound more pronounced than the 1st time we used (Wood/Liver/spring time). These sounds are so-pose to help with maintaining good health when you are in good relative health producing an energetic, physical and organ balanced.

Along the same lines if trying to promote healing and or rebalancing imbalances another practice using those same sound in a different order is called the Ko or controlling cycle of breath those sounds are Hawww/(Hē)sound associates with (Fire/heart/ summer time) → Ssss/(Sī)sound associates with (Metal/Lung/autumn time) → Shee/(Xū) sound associates with (Wood/Liver/spring) → Whoo/(Hū) sound associates with (Earth/St/Sp or all seasons) → Shu/(Chuī) sound associates with (Water/Kidney/winter) → Sheee/(Xī) sound associates with (Wood/Liver/spring time) again.
Both of these techniques do work and are also used in the 5 element treatment of imbalance of which I may get into another time. Even though in Chinese medicine the Whooo sound as the anytime sound. In my practice, I have found that the Hawww (he) sound worked best at alleviating constriction, tension, pain, discomfort and has a calming effect on the mind and body at any time.

In the physiological function of breath in many practices, express inhalation of air in lungs through the use of the diaphragm which is located under the lungs and exhalation through the nostrils is often used in meditative practices. Where instead of Breathing into the diaphragm ones inhales down to their Dan Tian (area below the umbilicus [navel]) and releases a relaxed exhalation out of the nostrils while maintaining either an open light non-specific gaze or relaxed closed eyes.

Our focus is inhalation through the nostrils which helps build energy than doing a releasing Hawww sound to then releases constrictions & tension or incorporating visualization of the breath breathing in positive energy and expelling negative energy. Breathing in light, health, and harmony and breathing out negativity, disease and disharmony… there are many forms of breath exercises that can be done.

However, in my experience, It’s very important to maintain this particular Breath practice when trying to alleviate natural tension or restore better function (Breathing in through the nose and exhaling a releasing Hawww sound out of the mouth) In an effort to resolve spontaneous dysfunction, pains, headaches or tensions. Releasing Hawww sound especially, when you are experiencing palpitations, anxiety or worry as well; slow and steady but exaggerated breaths. Immediately followed by holding water in your mouth for 10sec or more (b4 & after breath) remember this practice is to be done 3x’s/hr. In my next blog, I’ll express the importance of hydration “the second neglected need”. Speak with you again soon.

J Emanuel Hodge MSAOM, HHP
Integrative Medicine Physician

How MCT Oil Can Benefit Your Holistic Health Regimen

By Fitness, Health One Comment

MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride oil) is a supplement that is steadily growing in popularity amongst health, fitness, and holistic communities. It is an oil that possesses fats that are medium-length chains and are typically derived from coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products. This easily digestible structure is said to possess certain health benefits, which can accompany a holistic health regimen. Although not all care for MCT oil, it has regularly been an integral part of the ketogenic diet (keto) and many individuals swear by this supplement due to its valued potential health benefits. If you’re exploring the option of adding MCT oil into your daily holistic health regimen, continue reading to find out more about this amazing supplement!

 

  1. Utilize MCT oil as an effective weight loss aid.

 

Losing weight can be challenging for many individuals, and although there are endless products marketing to aid in weight loss, many of them are potentially harmful or even dangerous for the body. For this reason, finding a natural alternative that can assist in losing weight is an incredible discovery, and as science seems to show, MCT may be used as a weight loss aid.

  • A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that “Clinical studies have shown that consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCTs) leads to greater energy expenditure than does the consumption of long-chain triacylglycerols. Such studies suggest that MCT consumption may be useful for weight management.”
  • Another report written by Wang et al. states, “It has been shown that MCT plays a role in lowering weight, and decreasing metabolic syndrome, abdominal obesity and inflammation.”

 

  1. Boost your brain power and get your tasks done.

 

Life can often times become stressful with so many tasks to complete every week, not to mention any emotional, personal, and mental challenges that can enter the mix. At times, some may feel like their brain needs a little extra boost. Being able to strengthen your brain power not only helps you get more done but it also, in turn, decreases stress and anxiety levels because procrastination has less of an opportunity to affect you. The better we are at staying on top of the workload and maintaining a balance, the more enjoyable life becomes often times. This is where MCT oil might just be able to play its role. Some studies have shown the potential of medium-chain triglyceride oil to boost brain power so that you can get what you need to complete accomplished. Because MCT oil turns into ketones when it enters the body, it has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier easily, thus powering up the brain quickly. This extra added power can, in turn, be used to get the tasks you want to complete accomplished.

  • report published in BMC Neuroscience states, “Ketone bodies are an efficient alternative fuel for cells that are unable to metabolize glucose or are ‘starved’ of glucose.” Ketones essentially raise the blood level of ketones, therefore assisting the brain in greater energy production.

 

  1. Improve the quality of your workout or fitness program.

 

Maintaining a regular fitness regimen and committing to frequent exercise is an important part of staying healthy. MCT oil may be able to provide assistance in improving the quality of a workout or fitness program. While long-chain triglycerides may not be able to be all there for you, medium-chain triglycerides can potentially amplify things to the next level.

  • In a study published by the Journal of Nutrition, after fed an MCT-enhanced diet, mice performed better in a swimming endurance test, increasing their swim capacity. This suggests that MCT oil may potentially increase endurance in not only mice but humans as well.

 

  1. Prevent heart disease and live your best life.

 

Around 610,000 people die from heart disease every year in the United States alone, so tragically it can be said that heart disease is a serious condition that affects many individuals globally. Science shows that a healthy diet, regular exercise, limiting alcohol and refraining from smoking all help to prevent heart disease, but additionally some evidence expresses that MCT oil may potentially prevent heart disease, supporting you to live your very best life.

  • study conducted by Bourke et al. discovered that the consumption of MCT oil improved the “overall cardiovascular risk profile of overweight women.”
  • Another article published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming MCTs was more effective at reducing markers of cardiovascular disease in hypertriglyceridemic patients in comparison to if long-chain triglycerides were consumed (LCTs).

 

Although more studies do need to be conducted in regards to the ways in which MCT oil can impact and improve day to day life and challenges that arise, there is some hope and promise in regards to how this dietary supplement is already expressing its ability to be of aid.

 

If you are located in the San Diego, California area and are interested in becoming a holistic health practitioner, ICOHS is a non-profit, accredited vocational school offering a specialized, tailored-to-you Holistic Health Practitioner program. Reach out to ICOHS today and request more information.

Barefoot Running

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Barefoot Running sounds strange, yet humans have only been wearing modern shoes for a few hundred years. When Napoleon sent nearly 20,000 troops to waterloo, why is it that there are no accounts of foot injuries, or sore backs, knee pains, or foot aches? Surely those soldiers had worse shoe wear than us.

Or how about the pyramids, built by people wearing shoes? Good shoes? Probably not.

Nike started in 1963. That was barely 50 years ago. Since then, western society has seen in a boom in back, foot, hip, knee, and ankle problems. Everyone wants more air, or more gel in their shoe. Can’t the world see that the more “air” we put in the “injuries” we’re getting out?

The reality is that when we purchase these expensive shoes, we’re purchasing for convenience, and it could be affecting our health.

High cushioned sports shoes allow us to not feel the shock created when stepping on odd shaped objects like rocks, and bottlecaps. Barefoot running teaches to jog slower, and more careful, using your eyes to avoid those obstacles that would surly pinch. This creates an athletic focused concentration on the activity as apposed to running endlessness in boredom on a treadmill.

For the first few days going barefoot, you should simple walk and look out for objects. If you can walk to your mailbox, or even walk around the block, consider it a success. Anyone who’s familiar with walking on a beach can testify that engaging those tiny foot muscles will wear you out. Consider week one, a success.

After you’ve learned the balancing act and incorporated a concentrated mental game, you’ll want to simply lean over and start jogging slowly, very slowly. Barefoot running takes considerable amount of time to learn because it can be dangerous if you don’t use your head more than your heart. Our feet have the most nerve endings of our extremities. Those are there to receive information, not to be muzzled by a shoe. Barefoot offers the advantage of more biological sensory information to guide us to our destination.

Jogging barefoot is like switching from an old flip phone to the newest iPhone. The amount of sensory information you take in is overwhelming at first, but if you just start slow, getting to learn this new device can help to improve your life.

Most athletes in performance shoes will “grind it out”. This type of JV approach toward athletics and health will result in higher levels of lactic acid build up by constantly engaging fast twitch muscles. Lactic acid builds up leads to cramps, time off from training, an imbalance of nutrients/electrolytes, and eventually can lead to injury. In addition, barefoot prevents the runner from traveling with poor technique. If you try to sprint before you’ve trained your feet, you’ll rip the skin right off your feet.

Barefoot offers the ability of the jogger to cut your training time in half due to the complex spider web of muscles that must be engaged to avoid debris when running.

Since I started Barefoot running, I’ve been able to cut my work out times by ½ to 1/3. I’ve learned to run more upright as well. I’ve slowed by mile pace from 8 minutes per mile to about 8:30, but I’ve completely isolated sore muscles out of my training. I don’t have those same tired heavy legs the next day as I used to have worn performance running shoes. When I put the shoes back on and go for a run, I easily can travel at those old 8-mile pace and for longer periods, averaging 4-7 miles, 3 times a week plus weight training without shoes.

While I don’t run barefoot every day, those work outs are now some of my most favorite during the week. I tend to go maybe once or twice a week as it saves time. While I might do 2 to 3 miles normally as a warm up, I’m completely dead tired after 2- or 3-miles barefoot jogging.

It may look weird, but if you’ve read this far, FYI, you are weird so own it. I feel much healthier. I enjoy engaging the road. By touring the neighborhood barefoot, I’ve sampled the local germs and bacteria and my immune system has improved by creating bio-film that can adapt to the changing environment. I don’t care get colds or the flue because my body is constantly sampling my habitat while my cardiovascular system is at its highest-level creating ATP, Oxygen, and repairing my lungs while jogging.

-Mark Tuura

Movement and Learning

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Want to learn better?  Get Moving!  Physical Activity improves brain function, enhances memory, improves creativity and has protective effects from cognitive decline associated with aging.  Exercise/Movement enhances learning through activating the sensory motor systems of the body, it gets blood pumping to the brain and increases oxygenation to all of the organs. Keeping the body active promotes mental clarity.  Our own experience of feeling mentally clearer after taking a short walk and studies show improved test taking performance after 20 min. of exercise (walking, running, other exercise)1; also, increased attention span after periodic 20 min. physical activity bouts2; and improved memory when movement is engaged during learning3

The integration of the sensory and motor systems improves learning, especially of things that require action like touching or giving a massage.  Because touching with sensitivity (giving a massage) is a sensory motor activity, using movement paired with touch instruction enhances the learning and retention, and ultimately the embodiment of these skills. At ICoHS, we incorporate movement into the classroom experience.  We use Brain Gym from Educational Kinesiology4, designed to promote better synergy between the right and left hemispheres of the brain for improved learning outcomes. We teach a movement series that connects students with the basic principles of movement and promotes increased body awareness as well as movements for applying good body mechanics at the massage table.  We also include Tai Chi and the exercises for energy generation from Qi Gong to encourage slowing down, increasing body awareness, mindfulness, cultivating centeredness and building “wei chi” (protective energy).  Tai Chi provides a great outlet for moving during meditation, especially helpful when sitting still in meditation is challenging. All this physical activity sets the student up for improved learning outcomes.

 

Sources:

1) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306452209001171

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26724833

3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25015595

4) http://www.braingym.org/history