Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In Support of the Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Not be confused with hydrogenated coconut oil or hydrogenated palm oil, pure coconut oil, preferably the organic virgin type, has been used for generations by people in India, and Pacific Islanders for its health benefits. Coconut oil is highly touted for its healing properties, reducing inflammation, and for beautifying hair and skin.

Yet, in the United States, coconut oil is reviled for the sole reason that it is high in saturated fats. This much is true, but is only a small part of the story. A study published in the Philipine Journal of Cardiology states:

"Coco oil consists predominantly of 65% medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) and MCFAs are metabolized rapidly in the liver to energy and do not participate in the biosynthesis and transport of cholesterol. Coconut oil, in fact, tends to raise the HDL and lower the LDL:HDL ratio.
Coco oil is not deposited in adipose tissues and therefore does not lead to obesity. It is primarily an energy supplier and as fast a supplier of energy as sugar. MCFAs therefore differ in their metabolism from all the long chain fatty acids, whether saturated or unsaturated. "

In the Book: The Coconut Oil Miracle (Previously published as The Healing Miracle of Coconut Oil) the list of benefits of coconut oil are:
  • Reduces risk of atherosclerosis and related illnesses
  • Reduces risk of cancer and other degenerative conditions
  • Helps prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal (including yeast) infections
  • Supports immune system function
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Helps control diabetes
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Supports healthy metabolic function
  • Provides an immediate source of energy
  • Supplies fewer calories than other fats
  • Supplies important nutrients necessary for good health
  • Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Is highly resistant to spoilage (long shelf life)
  • Is heat resistant (the healthiest oil for cooking)
  • Helps keep skin soft and smooth
  • Helps prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin
  • Helps protect against skin cancer and other blemishes
  • Talk to your grocer about carrying organic, virgin coconut oil and start using it in your diet today. Did I mention that stove popped pop corn using coconut oil is absolutely rich in flavor and delicious? Try it!

    photo credits:  Mart1n; adnandx

Friday, April 15, 2011

What’s Your Bad Massage Experience?

In recent days, I’ve talked with a lot of new and potential clients about their past massage experiences. Based on what people have shared with me, I’ve realized that there is a lot of misinformation about what should or should not happen during a massage session.

I’m not talking about inappropriate sexual behavior which is a whole different topic, but about what a client might expect from a massage session and their massage therapist.

Here are actual comments from my clients about their bad massage experiences:

“…she worked my butt so hard, I had bruises the next day.”
“I was sure she had it out for me…I felt beat up.”
“I felt so sick afterward.”
“…she didn’t lighten up even after I told her the massage was hurting.”
“I thought she was going to snap me in two.” (A Thai massage experience.)
“I walked around in pain for three days after my massage.”
“It felt like the massage therapist didn’t care because she wasn’t going to see me again.” (An expensive hotel spa massage experience.)

Countless times people have told me that their massage experience (often their first experience,) was too painful and they were soured on seeking another massage ever again. This saddens me because massage is a valuable health modality with a myriad of health benefits. Bad massages ruin it for everyone. 

So here’s what I want to share with you today to save you from a bad massage:

  1. A massage therapist best serves her client by asking what her client’s goal is for the massage. When she asks, be clear in your expectations. If she doesn’t ask, volunteer this information. For instance, “I have a stiff neck, I need that worked on.” Or, ”I’m just looking for a relaxation massage today.”
  2. Know that therapeutic massage can be painful, but it should never be more painful than you can tolerate. If you’re flinching from the pain, you’re tensing up and you’re not getting the intended benefit of the massage. Muscle tissue worked too hard, too fast, can be damaged, hence, bruising or intense soreness for days later. That’s counterproductive. Speak up if the pain is too much.
  3. Stop the massage, if you’ve told your therapist he’s using too much pressure and he doesn't lighten up. Don’t be embarrassed or assume the massage therapist knows better than you about what you're feeling. It should be the other way around. Be sure to tell the manager your complaint. A reputable establishment usually will not charge you for the massage.
    1. Excessive pain is not the only reason to stop a massage. If you do not feel comfortable with your therapist for any reason, it’s your prerogative to end the session. Again, speak with the manager about your concerns.
  4. Realize that not all massage therapists are the same. While this is not a blanket statement, you should note that sometimes an inexpensive massage is inexpensive because the establishment may hire new graduates without a lot of experience. This is not to say that all new grads are going to be fumbling around in the massage room, but if you have a specific issue, you may want to seek out someone who is experienced for better results.
  5. Before you book a massage with someone, take time to research reviews of the establishment and/or the massage therapist him/herself.
  6. Last, if you have a medical condition,(for instance you're at risk for lymphedema,) make a point to ask the massage therapist if they understand your special needs and if they've worked with others with similar issues and/or if they have special training for your condition. If the answer is no, take your business elsewhere.
If you have had a bad massage experience you'd like to share, please post it below. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about massage and how you can get the most out of your experience.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Fructose is a Chronic Hepatotoxin - Alcohol without the Buzz"

"Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [7/2009] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 16717]"

Take the time (1.29.28 hr) to watch this highly informational video informing us of the poison in our food: Fructose (High Fructose Corn Syrup). Click on the Sugar title.

Ok - for those of you who don't have 90 minutes to watch this lecture, (though I truly believe it's worth your while,) here are some of the highlights of the lecture:
A tanker full of High Fructose Corn Syrup.
  • The body processes glucose (the main type of sugar occurring in plants and in blood,) and fructose (sugars found in fruit and honey,) very differently.
    • Excessive fructose consumption triggers the production of fat due to a complex carbohydrate binding response.
    • Fructose does not stimulate insulin production and therefore is an increases the risk for developing diabetes.
    • Fructose is a chronic hepatotoxin meaning it is poisonous to the liver. Chronic means it is continuous or long lasting.
    • The body reacts to fructose the same way it does alcohol, but since fructose is not metabolized in the brain, there's no alcoholic buzz.
    • We know what chronic alcohol consumption does to the body and in particular the liver, excessive fructose consumption causes the same metabolic syndromes.
  • Fructose is very cheap and therefore pervasive in our prepared food system. Check the labels of all your baked goods, chocolate milk, infant formula, yogurt, cereals, vitamins, sports drinks, sodas etc. The majority of national brands will be tainted with high fructose corn syrup. Is it no wonder we have an epidemic of obese six-month old babies and that the rate of children and adults developing type II diabetes is through the roof? 
    • NOTE: Fruit juice, 100% or otherwise, is also a culprit. Fructose without it's natural fiber package (whole fruit,) is poison too.
The immediate solution? Stop buying products that contain fructose. Eat whole foods and cook your own meals. Increase your daily dietary fiber.

Want to take further action? 
  • Contact food manufacturers and tell them that you do not want fructose or high fructose corn syrup in their products. Let them know you won't purchase their products anymore.
  • Contact your representatives and demand regulation of fructose and that the FDA officially recognize the health hazards of fructose.

photo credits: Tom Arthur; Cjcj; Fritz; John Knox

Define Your Learning Style to Boost Your Intelligence

Linguistic Learners use books to learn.
Did you know there are seven different learning styles? Sadly, schools and most learning institutions only teach  to one or two styles which can make a lot of people feel like they're not as smart or quick to learn as others. However, if you can define your learning style, you can creatively boost your intelligence without a lot of extra effort.

 Consider these different styles of learning and determine your best fit(s):

Interpersonal Learners work closely with instructors.
  • Intrapersonal, or self-directed learning. This person paves their own path to learning based on a decision to learn.
  • Interpersonal learning. This person works closely with an instructor to learn all about the subject at hand.
  • Visual learning. As indicated, learning occurs by direct observation.
  • Musical Learning. It's all about finding the rhythm of the task.
  • Kinesthetic learning. Here, learning is occurs by physically tackling the task or skill.
  • Logical learning.  All aspects of a skill are analyzed before attempting.
  • Linguistic learning.  Knowledge is obtained through books or listening to CDs.
By identifying your learning style(s), you can cater to your strengths and devise methods to better absorb and learn new skills and information. 

We are intelligent in our own ways. Sometimes we need to be creative in how we access and utilize our intelligence.

photo credits: CathyK; eieio1948;

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Aromatherapy is Found Effective for Knee Joint Pain Relief

People suffering from knee pain due to osteoarthritis found knee pain relief in a study where a ginger/orange aromatherapy was used during massage. In this double blind study, patients were given six massage sessions in a three week period. The results showed a decrease in knee pain, less stiffness in the knee, and increased range of motion.

Massage with aromatherapy can relieve knee pain.
While this study was conducted on elderly patients, the ginger/orange aromatherapy massage would also benefit those who are suffering from sports injuries or other inflammatory issues that are causing acute knee pain.

Ginger aromatherapy massage is effective for knee pain relief.
Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and has been widely used in folk medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Ayurveda Medicine for centuries. Ginger is a strong anti-oxidant and is helpful in the prevention of free radicals. The essential oil of ginger is quite concentrated and extremely effective in relieving rheumatism, muscle pain, sprains, nausea, and other disorders. Essential oils are best used either through skin absorption or inhalation.

Talk with your massage therapist about ginger/orange aromatherapy massage for your knee pain relief. 

photo credits: Crystl; _rockinfree

Do-It-Yourself Natural Health: Natural Health Trio--Acupressure, Herbal Therapy, and Aromatherapy

8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot (Remember When It Didn't Hurt)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Raw Horseradish - Natural Allergy Relief Product

Horseradish for allergies.
Are you plagued with allergy symptoms: runny nose and itchy watery eyes? Try this natural allergies treatment: horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)! Grate 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of fresh horseradish, mix it in a tsp of apple cider vinegar (aids the absorption,) and consume. If eating it straight seems harsh, hide it in a salad. Eat it 3-4 times a day until your allergy symptoms subside. Then a small dose once a month will prevent further attacks, as reported in Natural Health Secrets from around the World by Glenn W. Geelhoed, M.D.

Horseradish works as an allergy treatment because it
increases circulation and can widen sinus cavities. It's also a natural antibiotic that kills viruses as well as bacteria. Mix horseradish with garlic and you've got some potent anti-cold medicine!

Some precautions: If you're pregnant, skip this remedy. The same goes if you have kidney problems or a gastric ulcer. Eat too much horseradish and you'll give yourself a belly ache or worse. Use caution.

Photo credit: Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook: Two Hundred Gourmet & Homestyle Recipes for the Food Allergic Family

The Bible Cure for Allergies: Ancient Truths, Natural Remedies and the Latest Findings for Your Health Today


The Information Contained Herein Should not be Considered Medical Advice; Nor is it Meant to Treat, Diagnose, Prescribe or Cure Any Disease. Seek the Guidance of a Qualified Health Professional if You Have Concerns or Questions About your Health issues.

About Me

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Southern California, United States
Holistic living, natural remedies have been part of my life since the early 80's. As a natural progression of my passion, I became a certified massage therapist in 2006, a Reiki Master in 2008, and in 2013 an Ayurveda Lifestyle Coach. I am here to promote natural healing, for it is my deep belief that with a little help from our friends and nature, we can all heal ourselves.