year, it’s time to think about preparing for the busy holiday season. The upcoming months often bring added responsibilities, which can increase STRESS.
Higher stress levels open the doorway to illness, so keeping stress to a minimum is important in maintaining good health. This month’s issue features two articles on stress and your health that serve as a reminder why dealing with stress can make a big difference in the quality of your life.
Of course, nothing helps you to handle your stress levels like a relaxing, therapeutic massage! Besides just making you feel better in general, regular massage can support your body’s immune system as it strives to keep you healthy.
Whether you lead an active life or a more sedentary one, massage is a great way to help your body function better.
If you have questions about massage and your health, just ask at your next appointment.
See you soon!
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For Stress Relief, Smile
In mind-body research, investigators have looked at the potential benefits of smiling by examining at how different types of smiling, and the awareness of smiling, affects individuals' ability to recover
from episodes of stress.
"Age-old adages, such as 'grin and bear it' have suggested smiling to be not only an important nonverbal indicator of happiness but also wishfully promotes smiling as a panacea for life's stressful events," said investigator Tara Kraft of the University of Kansas. "We wanted to examine
whether these adages had scientific merit; whether smiling could have real health-relevant benefits."
Smiles are generally divided into two categories:
standard smiles, which use the muscles surrounding the mouth, and genuine or Duchenne smiles, which engage the muscles surrounding both the mouth and eyes, according to a university press release.
"Previous research shows that positive emotions can help during times of stress and that smiling can affect emotion; however, the work of Kraft and Pressman is the first of its kind to experimentally manipulate the types of smiles people make in order to examine the effects of
smiling on stress," the press release noted.
The results of the study suggest smiling may influence our physical state: Compared to participants who held neutral facial expressions, participants who were instructed to smile--and in particular those with Duchenne smiles--had lower heart rate levels after recovery from the stressful activities.
The study will be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Stress Shrinks the Brain
Numerous research studies have shown that massage therapy relaxes the autonomic nervous system, reduces blood pressure, reduces depression and boosts immune-system function--so it's
no wonder so many clients seek out massage therapy for stress relief.
In a new, unrelated study, researchers set out to determine how stress and depression shrink the brain.
"Major depression or chronic stress can cause the loss of brain volume, a condition that contributes to both emotional and cognitive impairment," noted a press release from Yale University, where the research was conducted. "Now a team of researchers... has discovered one reason why this occurs: a single genetic switch that triggers loss of brain connections in humans and depression in animal models."
The findings show that the genetic switch known as a transcription factor represses the expression of several genes that are necessary for the formation of synaptic connections between brain cells, which in turn could contribute to loss of brain mass in the prefrontal cortex, the press release noted.
"We wanted to test the idea that stress causes a loss of brain synapses in humans," said senior author Ronald Duman, the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson... professor of neurobiology and of pharmacology. "We show that circuits normally involved in emotion, as well as cognition, are disrupted when this single transcription factor is activated."
The findings were reported in the Aug. 12 issue of the journal Nature Medicine.
Your couch could kill you --
Parking yourself on the sofa for hours on end may be just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. After analyzing the activity levels of people in 122 countries, Harvard University researchers found that physical inactivity is causing 5.3 million deaths per year--enough to qualify as a global pandemic. “Inactivity plays a role in almost every chronic disease there is,” including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, physiologist John P. Thyfault of the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine tells WebMD.com.
One in three adults isn’t getting the minimum levels of exercise that doctors recommend--about 30 minutes of moderate activity, like a brisk walk, five times a week. People in wealthy countries tend to get less exercise t han those in poorer nations, because they drive more, do less physical work, and spend more time in front of TVs and computers. Experts say increasing activity levels by just 10 percent worldwide could prevent half a million deaths per year.
It is no wonder that many health insurance companies will cover the cost for seniors to join a gym or exercise program.
– The Week Vol. 12 Iss. 577
[Sleep is] the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.
— Thomas Dekker
The content of this letter is not intended to replace professional medical advic If you’re ill, please consult a physician.
© 2012 Massage Marketing. Used with permission; all rights reserved.