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back pain relief options

Relieve Back Pain Through Massage

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What causes back pain?

Most people will experience back pain at least once in their life. Although this pain or discomfort can occur anywhere in the back, the most commonly affected area is the lumbar region. This is because it supports most of the body’s weight.
Lumbago is the second reason why Americans go to the health care provider. Lumbago refers to pain that is felt in the lumbar region. You may also have a stiff back, decreased movement of the lumbar region and difficulty standing straight. You will usually feel back pain first after lifting a heavy object, suddenly moving, sitting in a position for a long time, or suffering an injury or accident. Acute lumbago is most often caused by a sudden injury to the muscles and ligaments that support the back. The pain can be caused by muscle spasms or strain or tear in muscles and ligaments and it can last from a few days to a few weeks.

Does dehydration influence back pain?

The intervertebral discs have an outer part that is strong but flexible and a gelatinous inner part, formed mostly of water. Daily activities dehydrate the disc and hydrate again at night while we sleep and lie. The outer ring absorbs 25% of the body weight and the inner part 75%. When there is an absence of water, the inner part becomes dehydrated and is not able to absorb the shock of the weight properly and causes the outer part to do this work stressing its structural integrity, causing protrusions and disc herniations over time.
Back pain can be a sign of lack of water in the spinal discs that are the shock absorbers that support the weight of the body. These discomforts should be treated by increasing the amount of water to drink. Tragedy: Not recognizing back pain as a symptom of dehydration in the joints and treating it with analgesics, massage, acupuncture and eventually surgery. Over time this will cause osteoporosis when the cartilage cells in the joints eventually die and cause a deformation of the spine, which will lead to the physical inability of the lower limbs.
Dehydration can cause muscle pain, headache, lethargy and drowsiness, nausea and tingling in the extremities. Our body is largely water, just losing 2% can cause a headache, since it can appear by not drinking enough water during the day. In addition to headache with the loss of 2%, it can also reduce memory, have concentration problems, general fatigue, so it would also cause back pain.

How to relieve back pain with only breathing?

It is a simple and practical technique that can help you reduce back pain and, therefore, can be considered as a method to achieve relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety or simply reduce back pain. The key is to properly maintain proper posture during inspiration and expiration.
The exercise consists of lying down, sitting or, just standing but with a straight back trying to maintain the neutral positions of our body. The human body has a “transverse abdomen” muscle (a kind of girdle that lines from the spine to the dawn line, the one below the belly button). It is a very important muscle for lumbopelvic balance and, consequently, for the entire spine. Its main function is to stabilize our posture to protect the lower back and also acts by compressing the viscera of the abdomen. It is an intrinsic muscle of the spine and it is also an exhaling muscle which means that it can be detected when the air is expelled. The importance of exhaling all the air is that the transverse has to contract as much as possible. The contraction exercises of the mentioned muscle are a good basis to protect the lower back. In some people with low back pain, alterations in these reflex mechanisms and different breathing patterns (from those of healthy people) have been found in efforts. Training and coordination of the inspiratory musculature (diaphragm and deep abdominals) could help improve back pain. Breathing is, therefore, among others, an exercise against back pain.
In addition, good and adequate training of our respiratory capacity will improve the mobility, flexibility, and stability of our spine. After a period of adaptation to training, with the consequent increase in tidal volume and respiratory rate during physical activity there will be an increase in expiratory time, which benefits us, because increases in inspiratory time mean a sustained contraction of the diaphragm and other inspiratory muscles, while a reduction in expiratory time would mean less rest and recovery for these inspirers and therefore higher energy cost of ventilation and early fatigue on the inspirers.

Ayurvedic Massage

Developed in India as part of an ancient medicine system that emerged more than 3,000 years ago, Ayurvedic massage focuses on specific energy points within the body and uses essential oils to help relieve stress and maximize relaxation. Massage therapists can also use tuning forks, which vibrate at particular frequencies and can help release tension. Ayurvedic massage is different from many other techniques since the patient is seen as a complete person. Massage is not only physical: it also relieves the emotional burden that leads to the tension that accumulates in the first place.

Deep tissue massage

This last technique is self-explanatory. Advocates believe that by using a lot of sustained pressure, they can reach areas under the skin where pain and discomfort originate. While traditional massage uses light to moderate pressure and focuses on the level of the skin, deep tissue may be momentarily uncomfortable as the massage therapist enters the muscular area, but it can help a lot in the long run.

Conclusion

Finally, it is important to note that, unlike many other medical conditions, the experience of pain in the lower back tends to be different for many people. For example, two people may have exactly the same condition, but for one it is disabling and for the other, it is just a nuisance. In fact, for most people, an abnormality of the spine (such as disc degeneration that can be seen through an MRI) is painless. In addition, there are other factors – psychological, emotional and economic – that often contribute and influence a person’s experience with their pain in the lower back.
aromatherapy at ICOHS College

A Short Lesson in Aromatherapy

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What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. Sometimes it’s called essential oil therapy. Aromatherapy uses aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. It enhances both physical and emotional health.

Does Aromatherapy Really Work?

Aromatherapy is thought of as both an art and a science. Recently, aromatherapy has gained more recognition in the fields of science and medicine.
Today we are going to talk about some garden plants that you may already have or might be inspired to get after this blog. We will start with the elders of the garden. The first flower we have is a yellow flower together with berries from the elder tree. The tree is called mother elder and there are rumors that her spirit was either a goddess or a dryad or a wish that could heal all different kinds of things. In the past, the word witch meant either holy or knowledge or wisdom. The wise woman had a lot of healing to give to other people. The word has a different meaning today. Over time, the elder tree that grows in the canyons can now be used as medicine! The botanical name of the flower is Sambucus Mexicana. Although, other trees that are also called elder, are not suitable for any kind of healing. As a result, it is very important to know the exact botanical name, genus and species of a plant before using them for healing or essential oils. The elder is a very flexible plant. You can use its berries for is elderberry syrup and its flowers for tea. The syrup is particularly helpful for a facial wash while the tea can help with the fever.

Another interesting flower is this sage plant also known as “salvia officinalis”. “Salvia” means to save and the plant is also considered a healer with many different uses. The second part “officinalis’ refers to the plant’s medicinal use. In former times, people would go to the monk’s office to get their medicine.
The garden sage is related to the white sage which is often burned to create a sacred space in many different cultures. It has the same genus but belongs to a different species. Its botanical name is salvia alba.

Sage, once again, is used for many things. It is not only a warming herb but also a drying herb. Latter is really good for colds, flu or even a runny nose because it dries up extra flam.
Additionally, Sage is also used for wisdom, more specifically to help increase brain activity and health. You can also use Salvia Rosmarinus or rosemary. Rosmarinus stands for a rose by the sea and is also an officinalis. It has many purposes such as facial washes or as a hair product. Old indigenous people used to take long pieces of rosemary and comb their hair with it. Rosemary can also act as a vasodilator which means it widens the blood vessels which in turn increases the oxygen flow to the brain. Many tests and studies have been done to prove that rosemary does indeed stimulate brain activity. The plant appears in different forms depending on where it grows which has an effect on the chemotype. If it has the cineole chemotype, it’s great to expand the lungs, circulation, and respiratory system

To learn more about the holistic health program at ICOHS College >>CLICK HERE<<

Holistic Health

What is Holistic Health?

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Holistic Health 101: An Alternative Approach to Western medicine

When Western medicine and convenient means of treatment just don’t seem to be doing the trick, it often becomes time to look for alternative options. In a world where Western medicine is very much the norm in many societies, especially the United States of America, it can be challenging for some to feel that they could trust alternative approaches.
While this is completely understandable, the truth is, many holistic health practitioners have given their patients hope when all other doctors had already given up. For this reason, holistic health is an incredibly valuable practice, and for those who are not keen on the ways of Western medicine, it is a precious and respected solution.
In this article, we will explain the primary concepts of holistic health and its practices, along with an overview of the holistic health courses that we offer at ICOHS for those interested in becoming holistic health practitioners.

An Introduction to Holistic Health

If you are interested in pursuing a career path in holistic health, chances are you are already familiar with some of the major aspects and fundamentals of this alternative to conventional medical treatments. For those who are not aware of the ins and outs of what holistic health is, in this section, we present essentially a brief holistic health 101.

What Is Holistic Health?

Holistic health is a form of healing the body and self by addressing all aspects with a wholesome, fully inclusive approach. This means that not only are symptoms in the body addressed – holistic health examines imbalances throughout the emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental realms as well. By recognizing present imbalances, awareness can be brought and a plan devised.
Holistic health practitioners work with their patients to once again restore that equilibrium through a diverse use of various methods and practices. In the practice of holistic health, patients are not viewed or labeled as their diseases; they are instead treated as individuals and welcomed with grace, kindness, and acceptance.
Holistic health, however, certainly is not a one-pill-fixes-all sort of approach. Instead of merely covering up frustrating symptoms with a bandaid, this work dives deep into the inner workings of an individual on all levels, which means that the patient needs to be committed to delving into self and confronting whatever surfaces.
By approaching the emotions that arise with acceptance and love and viewing them as gifts and messengers, further healing is facilitated – the type of healing that lasts because it is actually addressing the root of an issue and dissolving that layer so the next one can appear for further healing.
In this sense, a holistic health practitioner serves very much as a guide and carrier of support. They facilitate this healing with their expertise, but ultimately the patient commits to the practices, recommended methodologies, and treatments.
For many, the concept of healing in such an out-of-the-box manner may seem unreasonable and impossible. But for those who have been failed time and time again by Western medicine systems and how found significant healing and relief with the practices of holistic medicine, these approaches are simply put – phenomenal.

A Brief Overview of Holistic Health Treatments

It is difficult to pinpoint holistic health onto one or two practices and treatment methods, for this route is especially personal and encompasses a broad variety of options. There are, however, some common holistic health modes of treatment that are utilized by many practitioners.
A focus upon lifestyle change and taking care of self on a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual level is typical of a holistic health care routine. This could involve meditation and mindfulness, specialized diets, counseling and hypnotherapy, exercise, psychotherapy, and many other possibilities.
Some holistic health practitioners also take a more physical approach by complementing the above practices with alternative therapies such as massage, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and more.
Finally, some holistic health practitioners take more Western approaches to further facilitate healing, suggesting various surgical procedures and conventional medications alongside the more alternative routes to healing.
In all, holistic health therapies are well-rounded and take into account the entirety of a patient’s medical needs and history, along with the requirements for healing on a deeper, less physical level.

Holistic Health Programs at ICOHS College

At ICOHS College, we offer a tailored-to-you holistic health practitioner program that allows students to pursue an HHP permit for the city of San Diego or become better versed in a plethora of advanced techniques as one sees fit.
All of our courses are professional and designed to provide students with the highest level of certification recognized by bodywork, massage, and holistic health professionals in the United States.
Pursuing the holistic health practitioner path with us opens up a world of career opportunities and possible professional pursuits. Just to name a few, you will become qualified to pursue the following modes of employment:
● Certified Massage Therapist
● Holistic Health Practitioner
● Employment at Spas & Resorts
● Employment at Wellness Centers
● Employment at Health Clubs
● Employment at Chiropractic Offices
● Employment at Hospitals
● Employment at Doctor’s Offices
● Entrepreneurship
● Advanced Massage Techniques
● Yoga Teacher Training
● Herbology and Nutrition
Our holistic health practitioner program is a diverse collection of applicable courses that span across a wide range of topics and practices so that you can tailor your education to your interests and professional goals. The courses we offer for this program are as follows:
● Fundamentals of Holistic Health
● Anatomy and Massage
● Strategies for Success
● Touch Anatomy
● Circulatory Massage
● Deep Tissue Massage
● Passive Joint Mobilization
● Anatomy with Manikins
● Eastern Perspectives
● Chi Integrated Exercises
● Energy Channels & Acupoints – Tui Na
● Shiatsu – Zen Touch
● Kinesiology
● Client Assessment
● Physiology/Pathology
● Business Practices
● Special Populations
● Communications, Ethics and Career Prep
● MBLEx Preparation
● Practicum – Clinic & Community Outreach
For those who desire a stronger focus upon massage and its related practices, ICOHS also offers a professional massage therapy program to further concentrate on this aspect of holistic health.

Our Final Thoughts on Holistic Health 101

While opting to pursue a career in holistic health is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, a profession in this field is incredibly rewarding and giving, particularly for those who are passionate about helping others using the power of nature and a well-rounded approach.
Here at ICOHS, our dedicated team of educators wants to see their students succeed, which is why our programs are tailored to each student’s needs, goals, and pursuits. We are a non-profit vocational school and we offer a range of benefits to veterans, active-duty military, and their families.
If you are interested in studying holistic health to become a holistic health practitioner, reach out to us today and request more information about our program.

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

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