Did you know that one in three adults in America have high blood pressure, or hypertension? While the majority of those diagnosed with high blood pressure are 65 years or older, those under 65 are not immune. There are certain behaviors that increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet, and being overweight. While blood pressure normally increases in stressful situations, chronic stress seems to be even more of a contributing factor to developing high blood pressure. Depending on the severity of your hypertension, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes and/or prescribe medication to lower it. Even if you’re prescribed medication, lifestyle changes are still recommended to get the most benefit and get your body in control of your blood pressure instead of solely relying on the medication to do so.
When seeking answers for low back, hip, and leg pain, you may have heard the term Sciatica. This condition occurs when the sciatic nerve (the largest nerve in the body) is irritated or inflamed, causing pain, tingling, and/or numbness felt along part or all of the nerve path; most often starting in the low back or the buttock and traveling down the outer leg, even all the way down to the foot in some cases.
This irritation of the Sciatic nerve is actually quite common, and is often attributed to one of two causes, Piriformis Syndrome or a spinal abnormality in the low back; with a pretty even 50/50 split between the two.
We’ve all been breathing since the moment of our birth, but did you know that we’re often doing it wrong? While the way you typically breath will keep you alive, it’s often not as efficient at keeping you at peak performance. That’s because we all leave it up to our unconscious brain to keep up this basic function without thought, which is fine for the most part. However, if you take the time to think through your breathing and practice new ways to breathe, you can often alter how your brain and body work.
Depending on what you’re doing, or attempting to do, you may need to alter your breathing in order to achieve it. Try one of these techniques the next time you need to be more alert or you need to calm down.
When it comes to a new baby, whether you have previous children or not, many people have the same fears. Nurturing another human being whose life depends on you is a big deal, and regardless of how much preparation you attempt, you will always feel a little bit of fear in your capabilities. We have so much information at our fingertips to help us prepare for any situation in life, but the problem with the information we are given is that it is often conflicting with other information. One practice that has been gaining popularity over the past several years is skin-to-skin contact between newborns and their parents and it’s gaining popularity for good reason. Skin-to-skin contact is when a baby or newborn is held naked against their mom or dad’s skin mimicking the experience and security that they had in their mom’s womb. This is something that is vital directly after birth when possible and the need and benefits continue far beyond the hospital.
Every year during the holiday season, we get a serious urge to start working on our New Year’s resolutions. Everyone is deciding what it is they would like to change in the upcoming year in order to better themselves and that involves making new changes. For some this breeds anxiety and sometimes even sets them up for failure when thinking that their resolutions must match those of others. Be careful not to fall into that trap. Make a resolution that speaks to you! Only you know where you’re at in your life, the things you struggle with, and the things you could work on. What means a lot to you may not mean a lot to others. What will be a massive change for you, may be a minor change for others and vice versa.
When you’re relaxing on a massage table, it’s easy to see massage as a gift. Whether you’re there to reduce pain, to ease anxiety, to help you recover from the physical and mental stresses work or athletic training or parenting or simply being alive, massage is a moment of freedom in an occasionally crushing world. If you’re thinking of sharing the gift of massage with someone else for a special occasion or “just because,” you are almost certainly doing so from a place of love and generosity.
Obviously, I’m a big fan of giving massage as a gift! But just as with choosing to visit a massage therapist yourself, there are some considerations when offering this kind of gift.
Every year around the holidays we’re reminded that it’s a time for us to put others before ourselves. But many of us tend to take that to an extreme and often put even our most basic needs, like exercise and sleep, to the side for the season. While it is important to always think of others’ needs as well as our own, we can’t forget that we aren’t able to fulfill anyone else’s needs if we ourselves are empty inside. It’s important to give and do these good deeds from a place of happiness. Doing for others and giving to others really does make you happy. However, if I have neglected my needs so much that I am running on empty, the place where I begin to give to others shifts from a place of happiness, to a place that may breed resentment. This doesn’t mean that those that I am giving to have done anything wrong; but rather that I can equate myself giving them something that I’m not giving to myself, almost as if I’m not worthy or my needs don’t matter.
Your health and happiness should always be a priority, even during a busy season in your life, whether that’s the holidays or any other busy time in your year. Remember, it doesn’t take hours that you feel you don’t have to keep yourself happy and healthy. For me that happiness may come from sitting down with a good book or sitting on the beach and listening to the waves, just to get away from the craziness of life. Happiness may be listening to your favorite music while driving to visit relatives or taking yourself on a date to your favorite coffee shop or restaurant. Taking just 5-10 minutes scattered throughout your day can make a massive difference in your mood and mindset. Whether it be 5-10 minutes of meditation, silence, stillness, or fun, take that time for yourself to regroup so that you can continue throughout your day healthy and happy. Our bodies and minds speak to us if we listen. When you feel yourself needing time to refuel ask yourself what you need in that moment. You will be surprised at the answers your body will give you when you take the time to ask it a question. Small shifts make for major changes.