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Monthly Archives: July 2014

  • Reflexologists Notice the Feet Signs of Health

    Happy Feet

    Usually  we do not pay much attention to our feet unless they hurt and when feet are already painful from that first step of the day, our feet get our attention which we cannot ignore. Our feet are often covered with socks or shoes and, as the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” However, when our feet need attention, feet can quickly become hard to ignore. In some cases, this can be a good thing, as symptoms of more serious conditions may initially manifest themselves in your lower extremities. Here are some common symptoms to look out for, as well as possible explanations for what those symptoms might mean for your health.Cold feet
    For many people, having cold feet is more than a figure of speech. While it is possible to simply have cold sensations without any serious underlying cause, chronically cold toes could be a sign of poor blood circulation. Smoking and smoking-related conditions like COPD can reduce the lungs’ ability to fully absorb oxygen, leading to lower oxygen levels in the blood. Additionally, peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and several other forms of heart disease can cause your arteries to narrow, which can impede the flow of blood throughout the body. Extremities like hands and feet are particularly susceptible to poor circulation, which may manifest itself through cold sensations. If you notice that your feet are almost always cold or numb, consult your doctor to figure out whether there are any underlying medical problems.

    Itchy feet
    As unpleasant and distracting as they may be, itchy feet aren’t normally a sign of a serious medical condition. The most common culprit of itchy, scaly skin on the feet is a fungal infection like athlete’s foot. These infections thrive in damp environments, usually begin between the toes and occur most commonly in people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined to tight-fitting shoes. While athlete’s foot is contagious, it can be treated easily with over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medications. In some cases, itchy feet may result from an allergic reaction to skin creams or from an immune condition like psoriasis. Talk with your doctor if your itchy feet persist or worsen with OTC treatments.

    Skin discoloration
    A rash or fungal infection like athlete’s foot commonly leads to scaly, reddish skin, but many other conditions may also result in discoloration of the feet. One condition, known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, is characterized by a sequence of color changes in the skin as a response to cold or stress. During an instance of Raynaud’s, the affected area turns white as the arteries begin to narrow and blood flow is reduced. The affected area may start to feel cold or numb and eventually turn blue as blood flow is further restricted. Sometimes, as circulation improves, your skin may turn red before finally returning to normal. Raynaud’s occurs most commonly without an underlying disease. In some cases, however, Raynaud’s may be an early sign of a more serious condition like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

    Clubbed toes

    Clubbing involves changes in the area surrounding and supporting the finger or toenail. Common symptoms of nail clubbing include softening of the nail bed, bulging of the tip of the toe and curving of the nails to form a sharper angle with the toe (often described as resembling the head of an upside-down spoon). A significant majority of clubbing cases stem from heart and lung diseases that reduce oxygen levels in the blood. Talk with your doctor if you notice changes in your finger or toenails that resemble clubbing, as this could be a sign of a serious condition like lung cancer, heart disease and Crohn’s disease.

    Swollen feet
    Most people experience swelling in their feet at one point in their lives. Often, the cause of the swelling boils down to something as simple as standing for an extended period of time, wearing restrictive footwear, going on a long flight or sustaining a minor injury like a sprained ankle. However, if the swelling lasts for more than a couple of days, it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Fluids like blood may build up in your legs and cause swelling as a result of congestive heart failure, kidney disease or even as a side effect of prescription medications for diabetes and high blood pressure. Swelling may also result from inflammation stemming from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. It is important to seek emergency medical attention if swelling is accompanied by symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing or dizziness, as these could indicate a blood clot or another serious heart condition.

    Burning sensation
    The sensation of burning feet can vary from mild (numbness and tingling) to severe (distracting pain that can even interfere with sleep). Something as simple as tired feet or a common infection like athlete’s foot can cause short-term symptoms like burning or tingling. In more severe cases, burning in the feet could be a sign of nerve damage from diabetes or a circulatory condition known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Seek medical attention if the burning sensation lasts for several weeks, if symptoms become more intense and painful or if you start losing feeling in your toes or feet. In the meantime, the Mayo Clinic suggests resting and elevating your feet to ease symptoms. Additionally, bathing your feet in cold water can also reduce pain and burning.

    Pain in the big toe
    Generalized foot pain is one thing, but sometimes specific pain points to a more specific condition. If the pain is focused around the tip and corner of your nail, it could be a sign that you are developing an ingrown toenail. Sudden, severe bouts of pain localized in the joint of a big toe could suggest a complex form of arthritis known as gout. Symptoms of gout include intense joint pain followed by lingering discomfort and often occur at night without any warning. Rheumatoid arthritis could be another explanation, as early symptoms tend to affect toe and finger joints before moving to the hands and feet. If you experience persistent discomfort or sudden localized pain with no apparent explanation, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

    Yellow toenails
    As with other parts of your body, discoloration in your nails may be a sign that something is wrong. An infection of nail fungus often begins as a yellow spot under the tip of your nail. Unfortunately, as you may have learned in high school biology, fungi tends to thrive in dark, warm and moist environments, making the underside of a toenail the perfect home. If left unnoticed or untreated, this discoloration can spread deeper into the nail and to other surrounding toes. Outside of some minor pain and cosmetic damage, nail infections don’t normally present a major health hazard. However, if you have diabetes, an unchecked fungal infection could impair blood circulation to your feet and lead to more serious health complications.

    White nails
    White discoloration of the nails doesn’t necessarily point to a health issue. Leukonychia (sometimes called a “milk spot”) is a medical term for common white blotches that start around the base of the nail and move as the nail grows. Contrary to popular belief, these marks are not a sign of a vitamin deficiency and are generally considered harmless. A white mark at the tip of your nail, however, may be more serious. An injury may cause part of the toenail to separate from the nail bed, which can make the tip of the nail appear whiter. Additionally, some fungal infections first manifest themselves as white marks on the tip of the nail. If unchecked, these infections could spread throughout the rest of the nail, leading to further discoloration and potentially causing the nail to separate from the nail bed.

    Sources:

    Keep Your Feet
    Happy Feet with Diabetes

    MORE: Foot Health Feet Health Feet Health Conditions Foot Health Conditions

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  • Impress Your Massage Therapy Clients with Natural Health Tricks

    Zoe
    Here are some natural health tricks for massage therapists to share with your massage therapy clients. Let them wow at your natural health tricks of knowledge.

    1. Cure a Tickling Throat

    When you were 9, playing your armpit was a cool trick. Now, as an adult, you can still appreciate a good body-based feat, especially if it serves as a health remedy. Take that tickle in your throat: It’s not worth gagging over. Here’s a better way to scratch your itch: Scratch your ear. “When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm,” says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. “This spasm relieves the tickle.”

    2. Experience Supersonic Hearing
    If you’re stuck chatting up a mumbler at a cocktail party, lean in with your right ear. It’s better than your left at following the rapid rhythms of speech, according to researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to identify that song playing softly in the elevator, turn your left ear toward the sound. The left ear is better at picking up music tones.

    3. Calm Yourself With Cold Water
    Nerves getting the best of you. Take a deep breath and spash cold water on your face. This triggers the mammalian diving reflex that is genetically in all animals including humans. The lower temperature of the water and you holding your breath also causes your body to think it’s diving into cold water. This reflex allows you to use oxygen more efficiently.

    4. Overcome Your Most Primal Urge To Pee
    Need to pee? No bathroom nearby? Fantasize about what ever turns you on. Thinking about sex and arousing fantasies preoccupies your brain, so you won’t feel as much discomfort, says Larry Lipshultz, M.D., chief of male reproductive medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

    5. Feel No Pain While Giving Blood
    Love donating blood but hate the needle prick? German researchers have discovered that coughing during a needle stick can lessen the pain. According to Taras Usichenko, author of a study on the phenomenon, the trick causes a sudden, temporary rise in pressure in the chest and spinal canal, inhibiting the pain-conducting structures of the spinal cord.

    6. Swallow Your Horse-Sized Supplements
    Those huge health supplements are sometimes a pain to swallow. Want to swallow more than one at a time without gagging? Try this trick to get them down: take a drink of water, and tilt your head forward instead of backward. The capsule should float, and will be at the back of your throat, ready to swallow.

    7. Clear Your Stuffed Nose
    Forget Sudafed. Here’s an easier, quicker, and cheaper remedy to relieve sinus pressure: Alternate thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you’ll feel your sinuses start to drain.

    8. Fight Acid Reflux By Sleeping Position
    Worried that chilli will repeat on you tonight? Try this preventive remedy: “Sleep on your left side,” says Anthony A. Starpoli, M.D., a New York City gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at New York Medical College. Studies have shown that patients who sleep on their left sides are less likely to suffer from acid reflux. The esophagus and stomach connect at an angle. When you sleep on your right, the stomach is higher than the esophagus, allowing food and stomach acid to slide up your throat. When you’re on your left, the stomach is lower than the esophagus, so gravity’s in your favor.

    9. Cure Your Toothache
    Just rub ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger. A Canadian study found that this technique reduces toothache pain by as much as 50 percent compared with using no ice. The nerve pathways at the base of that V stimulate an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from the face and hands.

    10. Make Burns Disappear
    When you accidentally singe your finger on the stove, clean the skin and apply light pressure with the finger pads of your unmarred hand. Ice will relieve your pain more quickly, Dr. DeStefano says, but since the natual method brings the burned skin back to a normal temperature, the skin is less likely to blister.

    11. Stop the World from Spinning
    Feeling dizzy? Put your hand on something stable. The part of your ear responsible for balance–the cupula– floats in a fluid of the same density as blood. “As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupula, the cupula becomes less dense and rises,” says Dr. Schaffer. This confuses your brain. The tactile input from a stable object gives the brain a second opinion, and you feel more in balance. Because the nerves in the hand are so sensitive, this works better than the conventional foot-on-the-floor wisdom.

    12. Unstitch Your Side
    If you’re like most people, when you run, you exhale as your right foot hits the ground. This puts downward pressure on your liver (which lives on your right side), which then tugs at the diaphragm and creates a side stitch, according to The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Men. The fix: Exhale as your left foot strikes the ground.

    13. Stop A Nose Bleed
    Put some cotton on your upper gums–just behind that small dent below your nose–and press against it, hard. “Most bleeds come from the front of the septum, the cartilage wall that divides the nose,” says Peter Desmarais, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Entabeni Hospital, in Durban, South Africa. “Pressing here helps stop them.”

    14. Make Your Heart Stand Still
    Trying to quell first-date jitters? Blow on your thumb. The vagus nerve, which governs heart rate, can be controlled through breathing, says Ben Abo, an emergency medical-services specialist at the University of Pittsburgh. It’ll get your heart rate back to normal.

    15. Thaw Your Brain Freeze
    Press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can. “Since the nerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, your body thinks your brain is freezing, too,” says Abo. “In compensating, it overheats, causing an ice-cream headache.” The more pressure you apply to the roof of your mouth, the faster your headache will subside.

    16. Prevent Near-Sightedness
    Poor distance vision is rarely caused by genetics, says Anne Barber, O.D., an optometrist in Tacoma, Washington. “It’s usually caused by near-point stress.” In other words, staring at your computer screen for too long. So flex your way to 20/20 vision. Every few hours during the day, close your eyes, tense your body, take a deep breath, and, after a few seconds, release your breath and muscles at the same time. Tightening and releasing muscles such as the biceps and glutes can trick involuntary muscles–like the eyes–into relaxing as well.

    17. Wake Up a Limb That Feel Asleep
    If your hand falls asleep while you’re driving or sitting in an odd position, rock your head from side to side. It’ll painlessly banish your pins and needles in less than a minute, says Dr. DeStefano. A tingly hand or arm is often the result of compression in the bundle of nerves in your neck; loosening your neck muscles releases the pressure. Compressed nerves lower in the body govern the feet, so stand up and walk around if they fail you.

    18. Impress Your Friends
    Next time you’re at a party, try this trick: Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his wrist and push down. He’ll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that’s a half inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat. This time his arm will cave like the French. By misaligning his hips, you’ve offset his spine, says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness, in Santa Clarita, California. Your brain senses that the spine is vulnerable, so it shuts down the body’s ability to resist.

    19. Breathe Underwater
    If you’re dying to retrieve that quarter from the bottom of the pool, take several short breaths first–essentially, hyperventilate. When you’re underwater, it’s not a lack of oxygen that makes you desperate for a breath; it’s the buildup of carbon dioxide, which makes your blood acidic, which signals your brain that somethin’ ain’t right. “When you hyperventilate, the influx of oxygen lowers blood acidity,” says Jonathan Armbruster, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at Auburn University. “This tricks your brain into thinking it has more oxygen.” It’ll buy you up to 10 seconds.

    20. Encode Long-Term Memory
    Your own! “If you’re giving a speech the next day, review it before falling asleep,” says Candi Heimgartner, an instructor of biological sciences at the University of Idaho. Since most memory consolidation happens during sleep, anything you read right before bed is more likely to be encoded as long-term memory.

    21. Relieve a Migraine Instantly
    The next time you are about to reach for some pills to get rid of your headache, use your thumb and forefinger and pinch down on the muscle on the web of your hand (thumb on the back of your hand and forefinger underneath) and press for 2 minutes. Repeat. Most headaches and migraines will ease after just 4 minutes. This shiatsu point addresses headaches by dispersing stagnant Ki (i.e. blocked energy) and moving blood in the head, neck, and other parts of the body.

    Sources:

    Why You Miss It 

    Men’s Health

    Life Hacker

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  • Massage Therapy is the Proper Terminology to Use for LMTs


    Do you know how important it is to use the term Massage Therapy? It is very important. It is because the term massage is the top search word for prostitution, hook ups and sex. There is a reason we are called licensed massage therapists and why we are no longer addressed as masseurs or masseuses. Massage therapy is the term for therapeutic therapy. Just use the term massage, and you may be attracting the wrong massage client with no so ethical intentions. Use the proper terminology to protect yourself along with being aware of code words for sex instead of massage therapy. We are including the links so you can be aware of code words and protect yourself.

     
    At Massage Specialties CEUS we supply continuing education for licensed massage therapists without the politics or funny business. Our courses are designed to help you move up the massage therapy career ladder with massage specialties while earning continuing education credit to renew your state massage therapy license.

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