Menopause & Message?!

Are you suffering from the symptoms of menopause?

If so, you are not alone!  In fact, 80% of perimenopausal and menopausal women experience at least one clinical symptom and 40% seek medical advice.

Did you know that massage therapy has been found to be very effective in treating many of the most common complaints?  Some of these include insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, and depression. 

A recent study showed that massage therapy has a positive influence on sleep for menopausal women.  Participants fell asleep more quickly, showed improvement in their quality of sleep, and awoke feeling better with regular massage treatments.  Similarly, many studies have shown that massage therapy leads to more time spent in deep sleep.

Psychology Today reported that sleeplessness and menopausal symptoms are closely connected, and that decreased sleep makes a person more sensitive to pain, increased stress and mood swings. Thankfully, massage therapy calms the nervous system, helping with stress and anxiety, as well as better sleep.

According to the Institute for Integrated Healthcare, regular massage therapy treatments have also been found to help with menopausal symptoms by balancing hormones, decreasing headaches, helping to regulate fluid balance, and increasing endorphins.  In fact, another study has shown that regular massage therapy leads to a significant improvement in hot flashes and night sweats.

The research is clear:

  1. Increased stress causes menopausal symptoms to be more severe.
  2. Regular massage therapy can significantly decrease menopausal symptoms.
  3. Relaxation is an important aspect in maintaining one’s health.

Regardless of your stage of life, taking steps to decrease stress will help you to live a happier, more well balanced, and healthier life. Choose to live better, choose Better Health!

About the author ...

Office Ergonomics: How You Can Improve Your Health at Work

Those that work in a desk job know all too well the pain in the neck it can be, read ahead for some tips and tricks to alleviate those aches! 

Setting up Your Workspace:

A supportive chair that helps to keep your posture in check requires adjustability. Begin by setting the height so when you are sitting your feet can be flat on the floor. Adjust the armrests so that your elbows rest comfortably at your side. Find a chair that has 5 spokes in order to avoid tipping while wheeling. Lastly a padded breathable cushion to sit on makes your seat bones happy. 

Once you have your chair sorted sit in it at your desk, there should be room for your thighs to fit comfortably underneath. Have your monitor directly in front of you with the top of the screen level with your eyes and less than an arm’s length away. Place your keyboard at a height where your elbows are bent at 90 degrees and close to your sides, determine if you prefer the keyboard being flat versus tilted. Use a mouse that is able to move across the screen with little movement or force of the forearm. Have materials commonly used close by to avoid excessive waist movement. Utilize a headset or speakerphone to eliminate awkward positioning while multi-tasking. A document holder that holds paper level with your monitor so you can look left to right as opposed to up and down, which strains the eyes constantly refocusing.  

A space that is at a comfortable room temperature with no glare from artificial or natural light and relatively quiet to ease concentration.

Adding these simple tips to a day can make your office time more enjoyable and have a lasting impact on your over all health.

About the author ...

Laura has been an RMT for 10 years. She graduated in 2009 from Everest College and is a member in good standing with the CMTO. Laura has had a variety of experience ranging from Canadian Olympic athletes for sports massage to aromatherapy relaxation.

Getting Straight on Your Posture: Its Importance & Tips for Correcting

By: Laurie Larson

Good posture is for more than appearances. While good posture is important for people’s impression of you, making you appear more confident, taller, slimmer, and younger, there are even more health reasons for why it worth consciously working on how you sit, stand, and sleep. 

So how is good posture defined and what can you do if you have poor posture? Here’s why posture matters and tips for consciously correcting your posture.

What is Proper Posture?

Proper posture has to do with proper alignment of your body and positioning as it relates to the force of gravity on your body, where gravity has constant pressure on our joints, muscles, and ligaments. 

You want to make sure that no one structure or part of your body is receiving more than its fair share of stress from the effects of gravity. Poor posture in this regard can have to do with  inflexible muscles that decrease range of motion or muscle strength issues that impact balance. 

According to Harvard Medical School, good posture means: chin parallel to the floor; shoulders even; no flexing or arching of the spine; arms at sides with elbows straight and even; abdominal muscles braced; even hips; even knees that are pointed straight ahead; and weight of body distributed equally on both feet.

Why Posture Matters

There are several reasons besides appearance and impression to others for why good posture is important: 

  • Breathe Easier. Sitting hunched over at your desk can cause you restricted airways, while not straightening your back while sitting or standing can put added pressure on your lungs. For people with panic attacks, restricted airways can make it longer to recover.
  • Combat Effects of Gravity. Gravity is a never ending force on our bodies, and good posture allows for the effects of gravity to be evenly distributed throughout our bodies. You don’t want certain muscle groups or structures to work too much harder than others in your body.
  • Digest Food Easier. Slouching causes more pressure on your internal organs, which impacts digestion, in addition to constipation, acid reflux, and hernias.

Tips for Sitting, Standing, and Sleeping Postures

It’s never too late to improve your posture; however, if you have long-term postural issues, it will take longer of a conscious effort to make daily postural corrections. Often your joints can adapt to long standing postural defects, making it hard to even detect yourself where you posture needs improving. 

See ACA guidelines for what constitutes good posture when standing, sitting, and sleeping. 

Sitting Posture Tips

Back pain can be a warning sign of poor posture, especially when sitting in a chair all day long at work. Be aware of pain that starts in the neck and works its way down to the shoulders and back, or pain that goes away once you change positions. 

While sitting down at work, take advantage of the chair’s features. Take time to align your ears, shoulders, and hips vertically. Remember that any prolonged position will take a toll on your body and energy. You can ease the work of back muscles by shifting from using the back rest to shifting forward closer to the edge of your seat. 

You should avoid at all times hunching your shoulders, crossing your legs unevenly, or tilting your head upward. Remember to get up and move in your office regularly, and change positions frequently.

Standing Posture Tips

In order to look taller, slimmer, and younger, not to mention improve your long-term health, when standing, take conscious effort to improve your posture. Pretend you are standing up against a wall to measure your height. Remember to hold your head straight and tuck in your chin. Remember to keep your shoulders back, knees straight, and keep your stomach tucked in. Don’t let your backside or hips stick out. Stretch your head out toward the sky.

Sleeping Posture Tips 

To maintain good sleeping posture, it is important that you invest in the right sleeping structure, including a firm mattress, not one that is saggy and soft. It’s also important that you choose the right pillow for your sleeping position to keep your spine in proper alignment.  If you are a side sleeper, slightly bend your knees but don’t hug them, and place your pillow underneath your head so that your head is level with your spine. If you are a back sleeper, use a smaller pillow rather than a big, puffy one that you put directly under your neck.

Identifying that you have a postural issue is half the battle, where the remaining half involves making conscious, everyday modifications and adjustments to how you sit, stand, and sleep, in order to reverse what can be years of poor posture. Your body and energy levels will thank you!

Tips to Help Keep Those Hormones Healthy and Happy!

This day and age we are bombarded with toxins in our food, in the air, and in our skin products, all this can lead to hormone disruption. Here are some tips to help limit that toxic load on our hormones.

  • Avoid plastic water bottles as much as possible. 

– The plastic used in the making of these water bottles contain xenoestrogens that will create unbalanced hormones in the body. We do not know how long the water has been in the bottles and the temperatures they were kept at so most likely the plastic has leached into the water, best to just avoid. 

  • Avoid the use of soft plastics used as packaging materials. 

– They are often treated with chemical compounds called phthalates, a xenoestrogen, to increase its flexibility. Plastic wrapped foods, heated in the microwave, contain some of the highest xenoestrogen levels. So do not heat food or water with plastic in the microwave. Avoid drinking coffee or other hot liquids in Styrofoam cups. And store your food in glass containers whenever possible!

  • Avoid all SOY products. 

– Soy is very high estrogen and mostly all genetically modified. This means no tempeh, soy sauce, edamame beans, tofu, soy milk, and any products containing soy. 

  •  Avoid aluminum cookware. 

– Any heavy metals will disrupt your endocrine system, cooking with a heavy metal will leach into the food you are consuming. Try to stick with cast iron, ceramic, and all natural cook ware.  

  • Avoid commercially raised meat and milk products. 

– These products contain bovine growth hormones that will set your hormones off balance. Look for pasture raised meats, organic, hormone free, grass fed, free range… 

  • Avoid heavy perfumed dryer sheets 

-Dryer sheets are loaded with xenoestrogens to make your clothes feel soft and fresh. These residual xenoestrogens can permeate your skin and go directly into your cells, avoiding your liver. Try useing a natural liquid fabric softener, ½ cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle instead or natural wool dryer balls scented with essential oils. 

  • Avoid Parabens in skin care products. 

–This means Shampoos, lotions, soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics and other personal care products that contain paraben or phenoxyethanol chemical compounds widely used by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries as preservatives. Note that xenoestrogens entering the skin go directly to tissue without passing through the liver for detoxification. So they’re 100% absorbed by the body and can be 10 times more potent than those consumed orally. This is not a good thing for your hormones. 

  • Try to shop Dirty dozen and Clean 15 whenever possible. 

 – this will limit the herbicide and pesticides you will be consuming therefor lowering the negative effect on your hormones. 

About the author ...

Hannah discovered her love of food and nutrition working in the restaurant industry. Over the past 15 years, she has worked with all aspects of food, from creating meal plans, presenting it, purchasing it, knowing what it does to our bodies, understanding the environmental aspect of it, understanding what our bodies require, and cooking it. In these roles accompanied with her diploma in Holistic Nutrition she is ready to help all ages achieve their health goals and teach simple understanding of holistic nutrition.

How Can Seeing A Nutritionist Help You??

We all get stressed from time to time and life can be very busy, but your health does not have to suffer as a result. As a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, I help you bring YOU back into focus, not by using a magic wand (I wish!) but by guiding you through positive nutritional and lifestyle changes. That result in you being at your very best self. 

Nutrition and lifestyle changes have an incredible impact on your overall health and wellbeing, when you make small modification over time, not all at once. I have seen so many positive results from choosing holistic nutrition. I’ve guided clients to heal from digestive problems, woman be free of menstrual pains, men stop having to take over the counter medications for heartburn, anxiety and depression both helped without the need for medications. I’ve seen clients become energized and vibrant just by changing their diet to improve their sleep habits and the list goes on.

So, how can I help you?

1.Individualized weekly food and supplement plans based on YOU and your needs, lifestyle, and desires.  

2.Stuck in a life slump? Inspiration, motivation, guidance needed? It’s like having a food trainer instead of a personal trainer. A personal food coach to give you a gentle life changing butt kicking.

3.Get to the root cause of your main concerns such as, sleep problems, low energy, skin issues, hormonal problems, cognitive function, and proper digestion. All without resorting to meds – food is your best medicine for many health concerns.

4.Get Happy! One of the benefits of getting healthy is your mood improves! Learn how nutrition can greatly help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.

5.Learn how to eat to get rid of body imbalances, rather than learn to just manage the unbalanced symptoms.

6.Digestion, digestion, digestion! Get your gut on track! Learn that bloating, indigestion, gas, constipation, are not meant to be a common symptom of eating. 

7.Fertility and growing a baby – learn what nutrients are beneficial for getting pregnant, growing a baby and what nutrients they need when they pop out!

8.A holistic nutritionist makes it simple and teaches you a holistic model of health by providing not only dietary guidance, but lifestyle suggestions as well. 

9.No nonsense, get healthy over time, weight loss will be a side effect, as well as glowing skin, higher sex drive, better sleep, healthy bowel movements – yes! Who doesn’t love a healthy bowel movement? 

10.Feel at ease about supplements, learn how we cannot get everything our body needs through food alone, and when it is a good idea to supplement your diet with supplements. 

11. Learn new awesome recipes how you can cook healthy food that’s as high on taste as it is in nutrients and not spend all day in the kitchen! Also learn how to fill that kitchen with all the necessities you need to be a healthy happy you! 

12.Learn what nutrients you may be deficient in due to medications you are taking. Use food and supplements to replace what’s lost. For example, one of the most common depleted nutrients is CoQ10 from statin drugs. The very nutrient needed for heart health is being depleted by a “heart healthy” drug.

13.Do you know how to shop smart?  A Holistic nutritionist will not only talk to you about what is healthy food for you but, take you to the store and show you how to efficiently shop for them. 

These things are just some of the top things seeing a holistic nutritionist will help you with, set up a free 30min session with me and we can discuss if I can help with anything else you may need.

About the author ...

Hannah discovered her love of food and nutrition working in the restaurant industry. Over the past 15 years, she has worked with all aspects of food, from creating meal plans, presenting it, purchasing it, knowing what it does to our bodies, understanding the environmental aspect of it, understanding what our bodies require, and cooking it. In these roles accompanied with her diploma in Holistic Nutrition she is ready to help all ages achieve their health goals and teach simple understanding of holistic nutrition.

Sleep: How Much Do You Need and How to Get More of It

Guest Post from The Sleep Help Institute By: Ellie Porter (Managing Editor)| SleepHelp.org

ellie@sleephelp.org

On an average day, 28 to 44 percent of adults sleep less than seven hours, the recommended daily amount. Anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep is considered healthy with a few people falling above or below the average. Many people treat sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. However, sleep is vital to your physical, mental, and emotional health and is key to reaching your personal and professional goals.

The Need for Sleep

There are key processes that only take place while you sleep. During the first of the deep sleep stages, the body releases human growth hormone to stimulate the repair of damaged, worn out muscles. The immune system recharges and transports white blood cells through the bloodstream. And, the brain cleanses itself of toxic proteins, prunes and strengthens communication pathways, and consolidates memories all while you sleep.

Sleep is also important for your functioning during the day. Without enough of it, the body releases more of the hunger hormone ghrelin and less of the satiety hormone leptin. The brain’s reward center also goes haywire for high-fat, sugary foods, causing intense cravings for unhealthy foods.

Emotional stability relies on sleep too. The portion of the brain that processes your emotions goes into overdrive if you don’t get enough sleep, especially over negative experiences and feelings. The logic part of the brain that normally balances your emotions becomes less active, leaving you prone to mood swings, irritability, and overreacting.

How to Get More

Thankfully, the regularity and length of your sleep cycle are highly responsive to your personal habits and behaviors, giving you the power to change your sleep results. However, it will take a consistent effort on your part.

  • Commit to a Bedtime: The body is designed for sleep, and one of the best ways to promote it is to commit to a regular bedtime. Consistency allows the brain to recognize and predict to start the sleep cycle.
  • Make a Routine: Trouble falling and staying asleep? Try developing a soothing bedtime routine. Routines provide another way to trigger the sleep cycle while giving you a chance to address stress and tension. Those who need to bring their heart rate and blood pressure down before bedtime may benefit from adding five to ten minutes of meditation to their routine. Meditation improves the connection between the logic and emotion center of the brain, and with time, trains the body to elicit it’s “relaxation effect.” Yoga is another option for those who may experience stress and tension in their muscles. It has been shown to reduce stress-related inflammation while improving mood.
  • Address Sleep Issues: Sometimes there’s more at work than poor sleep habits. If you’ve struggled with insomnia for an extended period of time, snore excessively, or struggle with restless legs, you may have an underlying issue that needs medical attention. There are medications, devices like anti-snore mouthguards, and other treatment options that may help.
  • Turn Off the TV (and other electronics): Electronic devices can disrupt your sleep cycle in more ways than one. Some emit a blue spectrum light that suppresses sleep hormones. And, depending on what you watch or read, the content can stimulate your brain and emotions, making it difficult to sleep. Give yourself at least two to three hours of screen-free time before bed.

Conclusion

Changing your habits may take time, but the benefits you’ll see make it worth the effort. When adequate sleep is coupled with good nutrition and regular exercise, you’re creating a foundation on which to build a happy, fulfilling life.

At Better Health there is also a few services that can even further enhance quality sleep. From Nutrition to Acupuncture to Osteopath all can add different healing modalities to bring you that full nights sleep, you truly need.

The Author ~ Ellie Porter ~ Managing Editor | SleepHelp.org 1601 5th Ave, Suite 1100 Seattle, WA 98101ellie@sleephelp.org