Monthly Archives: November 2015

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

via Alternative Medicine Zone

Don’t let the stressful holiday season burden your health

Massage therapy is known to have several health and other benefits for humans. Massage is known to simulate the blood circulation and thus treat various types of aches, pains and physical difficulties. Moreover, it is also known to treat anxiety and depression, which happens to be one of the most important benefits of massage therapy. The following are some of the main benefits of massage therapy for anxiety and depression:

Close-up of a young woman receiving back massage at spa

  • Massage treatment directly helps with the feelings of depression and anxiety. It tends to increase the feelings of energy and helps alleviates anxiety. It targets the physical symptoms which occur due to the reaction of a person to the anxiety.
  • Another reason why massage therapy is so beneficial for curing anxiety and depression is because it reduces the cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone, which when reduced leads to reduction in heart rate, anxiety and the problem of increased blood pressure.
  • Massage therapy or treatment can also affect the neurotransmitters found in the brain which thereby leads to an increase in the serotonin dopamine levels. This increase helps in the reduction of depression.
  • Massage therapy also leads to an increase in energy which infuses a sense of confidence in the person, thereby decreasing a certain degree of anxiety and the feeling of depression.
  • The combined effect of caring attention and focused hand massage treatment can lead to the shift in the brain signals to a more calm state, thus reducing anxiousness in a person. Moreover the tactile stimulation also helps in treating the depression since it is known that humans are biologically programmed to respond to touch.

Living with anxiety or depression is not only harmful for the mind but also for the body. Prolonged depression can start affecting a person physically, thus leading to several physical issues and pains. For this reason, it is even more important to treat it at the right time and using the right method, one of which is massage therapy.

The benefit of massage therapy is that one does not need any prescription to avail the treatment. But the practitioner who gives you the massage therapy must be licensed and knowledgeable about the right technique and method. These therapists must also familiarize him with common health problems so as to provide the best possible treatment. They must inform the client about the way they are going to tackle the problem for maximum benefit.

 

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ComfortSoul

Natural Skin Care with Botanical Oils

By: Jaime Hall

 

body oil

OVERVIEW—In the pursuit of glowing, age-defying skin, many people will turn to commercial creams and elixirs to achieve the perfect youthful appearance. However, many do not realize that by straying away from ingredients that mimic the natural “cosmetics” of ancient cultures, they are decreasing the skin’s natural ability to maintain traits of hydration and elasticity by forcing the skin to rely on chemical ingredients to achieve these traits. While people may observe their skin to feel softer or smoother from the use of commercial products, these feelings are often the result of artificial coatings on the skin that will wash away and do not impart a lasting effect that the skin can maintain naturally.  

Say goodbye to moisturizing lotions that contain vast quantities of water, preservatives, and other fancy (but useless) ingredients, which only serve to hide the one ingredient that is helpful: oil. If you want to avoid all the unnecessary additives, just break it down to the most basic component of lotion—the oil that actually provides the hydration your skin needs.

By changing your beauty regimen to include simpler and more natural products like botanical oils, you can begin to achieve the desired skin traits that are the epitome of health and beauty. Why spend the energy and funds on supplying yourself with high-tech treatments when the answer to glowing skin is right on your supermarket’s shelf?

If putting pure oils directly on your face and body sounds messy or counter-intuitive, do not be afraid. Pure oils from botanical plants are extremely beneficial for all skin types–even super oily–because they contain ultra-moisturizing omegas and essential fatty acids. Though, like all beauty products, certain oils are better for skin types than others. To help you decide on the oils with which you should be replacing your commercial products, we have outlined some of the most beneficial oils and when to use them.

 

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Jojoba Oil

Derived from the jojoba plant, this “oil” is actually a form of liquid wax that contains minerals and nutrients vital to healthy skin such as vitamin E, vitamin B-complex, and zinc. In fact, jojoba’s molecular structure is extremely similar to sebum, an oil your skin produces naturally. This similarity allows jojoba oil to both dissolve the sebum on your skin–remember, like dissolves like–and become easily absorbed by the skin’s pores for ultra-effective moisturization. The perfect oil to enhance your facial care routine, jojoba can help prevent breakouts as well as the largest contributor to aging—loss of moisture.

Almond Oil

Sweet almond oil (distinct from bitter almond oil) is extremely useful as a skin moisturizer due to the high level of fatty acids it contains. These fatty acids help the skin lock in moisture by creating a barrier, and can effectively aid skin conditions such as eczema, acne, or rosacea. Almond oil is also great as an anti-aging topical because of its ability to plump and firm skin while working as a natural exfoliant that removes dead skin cells to promote the growth of healthier skin.

Rosehip Seed Oil

Extracted from seeds on the fruit that occurs on wild rose bushes, this oil is often referred  to as a “miracle” skin care oil because of its variety of highly beneficial vitamins and nutrients. For example, rosehip seed oil contains vitamin A, fatty acids, omega-6, omega-3, antioxidants, and beta-carotene. This makes it the ultimate oil to tackle dry skin, signs of ageing, cell and tissue regeneration, sun damage, and uneven skin-tone as well as smoothing scars. Rosehip seed oil is wonderful for both body and face care.

Castor Oil

This oil was highly utilized by the Egyptian empire and is produced by extracting the oil from castor bean seeds. Castor oil is effective as an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, contains a variety of fatty acids, and also stimulates collagen tissue. These properties make it especially useful for fighting acne, healing sunburn, conditioning and plumping skin, and rejuvenating skin cells.

Note: When using any botanical oils, pay attention to labels to be sure they are unrefined. Some oils may also have a shorter shelf-life and may need to be refrigerated.

 

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ComfortSoul

Acupuncture: What you need to know

By Sandra Ramani from Organic Spa Magazine

The what, when and why of acupuncture..

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For many, acupuncture may only be familiar as a sight gag from movies and TV—for example, when a character covered in needles is shown to elicit screams from those around her, and winces from the audience. But while it may be true that this needle-based treatment does look more dramatic (and perhaps extreme) than it feels, in recent years, the ancient therapy has become mainstream enough that now—chances are—someone watching that on-screen scene knows from personal experience that the benefits of acupuncture are no joke.

All About Energy A key component of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a system that can be traced back thousands of years, acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow, or Qi, that course through the body. This energy is essential for health, so “disruptions of flow are believed to be responsible for disease,” explains Dr. Jitendra Uniyal, senior specialist of Traditional Chinese medicine at India’s Vana Malsi Estate wellness retreat. “Acupuncture is thought to correct these imbalances by unblocking the stagnated Qi in the meridians at identifiable points close to the skin, helping to maintain a free flow of energy.”

Western science explains it a bit differently, attributing the treatment’s success to the fact that it stimulates the nervous system, thereby releasing hormones that can lead to the desired results. Insulin production, thyroid hormones, beta-endorphins, white blood cell production, cholesterol levels and more are thought to be positively affected by acupuncture.

To the Point An initial session begins with a TCM consultation, which involves a general health assessment using tools like pulse and facial diagnosis, along with a physical examination and the taking of patient’s medical history. Based on the results, a trained therapist will then insert long, thin needles into the appropriate acupuncture points on the body.

“With the help of internally produced endorphins,” continues Dr. Uniyal, “the body is relaxed, thus encouraging the free flow of energy into the blocked meridians,” resulting in the correction of any imbalances. An initial session might last about two hours, while follow-ups can last as little as 30 minutes.

The Benefits In addition to boosting the body’s immune mechanisms, acupuncture can be very helpful with all manner of chronic and acute ailments—provided the patient follows through as necessary. For everything from allergies, sinus issues, and headaches to chronic pain, infertility issues, hormonal imbalances and even certain serious diseases, acupuncture has proven effective as both a primary and complementary treatment.

Best of all, “there are no contraindications for acupuncture,” says Dr. Uniyal.

“Anybody can do it—except those who might have a phobia of needles.” The rare negative reactions are mainly due to the use of unsterilized needles or insertion in incorrect pressure points, so be sure to seek out reputable practitioners—and speak up if anything makes you uncomfortable.

Where It’s Available Because it is most effective when done regularly, or as prescribed for a particular issue, it is rare to find acupuncture on the menu at a hotel or resort spa, where clients may only be around for a few days. Many destination spas, though, including Arizona’s Mii amo (miiamo.com), Turnberry Isle in Miami (turnberryislemiami.com), and Vana Malsi Estate in the Himalayas (vanaretreats.com) do offer it as part of multi-day programs, and under the direction of trained experts.

For best results, find a practitioner near you, so treatment can be consistent. The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (aaaomonline.org) allows you to search by zip code for accredited therapists in your area.

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ComfortSoul