Archive for Health Care

The Connection: Mind, Body and Soul

Sometimes, when giving somebody with very tense neck and shoulder muscles a massage, I joke around, telling them that I can see names of people engraved in those tense muscles, and that usually serves as an icebreaker or provides for a light moment.  Of course, there is some truth to it.  Because body and mind are interconnected, stress of any kind (involving people and/or circumstances), especially over an extended period of time, can influence our overall health tremendously in a negative way.  Just think about various statistics showing upward of 80% of health problems being stress related.  Imagine by how much that number can be reduced once we know how to decrease stress in our lives and discover ways to deal with stress that will work for us!

You will find various suggestions and tools on that subject when navigating through my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com.   Try out the approaches appealing to you and use the method(s) of stress relief that works for you.  The key to achieving and then maintaining good health is a comprehensive approach.  It includes healthy lifestyle choices, a healthy diet, self-responsibility for your wellness, regular physical activity, and a positive mental attitude and mindset.

Research has shown that negative emotions of fear, frustration, blame, hate and anger cause disorder in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and can have a negative effect on your immune system.  On the other hand, your immune system can receive a boost and the efficiency of your heart can be increased by positive emotions of joy, appreciation, care, compassion and love.  On matters of the heart, studies have shown that in general, being in a loving relationship of any kind, especially in happy marriages, can help your heart and your overall health.  However, beware that the opposite can be true for negative and toxic relationships.

I believe the following shows the connection between mind, body and soul perfectly.  One of my first massage clients was a sixty-something, very nice gentleman to whom I gave massages on a regular basis.  I sometimes joked with him about his neck and shoulder muscles being like a “brick wall.”  After the massage, his muscles were relaxed and he felt good and was in excellent spirits.  However, when I saw him the next time, his muscles again were like a “brick wall.”  I knew from talking to him that he was retired and his personal life seemed to be okay.  So I had no idea why his muscles stayed pretty much tense most of the time, to the point where he almost couldn’t move his neck from one side to another.  Naturally, I knew that there had to be a reason for that.

And then, one day he opened up to me, telling me how he was still angry at his parents (who were deceased) for him not having had a happy childhood and always feeling like they preferred his brother over him.  When I listened to him, I could hear his anger in his voice and realized that he was still blaming his dead parents for how he felt and probably for most everything that went wrong in his life.  I thought that he most likely had never been able to enjoy life to the fullest, because he ended up blaming his parents for everything that went wrong, and therefore hardly took responsibility and didn’t feel the need to change things himself, because it was his parents’ fault.

Now, this man carried that blame with him his entire life.  And it showed in his tense neck and shoulder muscles.  After hearing his story, I paused for a moment, and then suggested to him that in order to get to a better and more balanced place, he needed to let go of these negative feelings and forgive everybody involved:  his parents, his brother and finally himself.  I told him that if I was in a situation like that, I would seek counseling.  After that we parted and I didn’t see him for some time.  But one day, out of the blue, he called to make an appointment and when working on his neck and shoulders, I noticed how much more relaxed his muscles were.  I was about to make a comment about it when he told me, “You know, I took your suggestion and talked to a counselor and I’m feeling so much better now.”

He didn’t have to tell me at all; his body had told me already.

I lost him as a regular client, because from that time on he got massages more infrequently–as he called it:  for maintenance and preventive health care only, but not out of necessity, as before.

Somehow, I felt happy losing him as a “regular” client.   🙂

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Tough Guys Don’t See The Doctor

You’ve probably heard the notion that some men literally have to be almost dead before they see the doctor.  There is certainly some truth to men being reluctant to go to the doctor’s office when a problem first arises.  You can speculate about the reasons; some people think it is related to society in general imposing expectations of being tough and ignoring pain, first on boys and then later on men.  It could also be related to men in general maybe being more hesitant speaking freely, even with a physician, about a condition they deem to be embarrassing, not realizing it could be a symptom of a serious health problem.  Even when seeking advice, some men may leave out those important but embarrassing details and therefore delaying diagnosis and treatment.  One perfect example could be a man experiencing the urgency of urination to the point of wetting his pants from time to time.  Being embarrassed about that, he may not mention it to the doctor, possibly delaying a diagnosis that could involve bladder cancer, especially if the person had been a smoker.

MORE EMPHASIS ON PREVENTION

See your doctor ….. Not only for treatment when you are sick, but get regular check-ups for prevention, including blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.  The goal is to find out whether something is out of balance before it becomes a serious health problem.  Unfortunately, our entire health care system up to this point is based on treating health problems, rather than trying to prevent them in the first place.  But you can certainly make the individual decision for yourself to put more emphasis on prevention and living a healthy lifestyle.

YOU WANT TO GET A MAN’S ATTENTION?  LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX!

Is it just me or have you also noticed lately that commercials for medication treating Erectile Dysfunction start to involve the notion that serious conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease in general could also lead to Erectile Dysfunction?  And you can just picture men all across America staring at the TV in full attention.  Naturally, these are self-serving commercials by the drug companies.  However, studies have shown and experts agree that there can be a connection between Erectile Dysfunction and serious health problems.  A high percentage of men who suffer from diabetes already know that Erectile Dysfunction could be related to that condition.  But it could also be a good indication of heart disease because just like arteries in the penis fail to expand to stimulus, so do certain arteries around the heart.  Because arteries in the penis are smaller, that condition may show up earlier and may make the prevention or treatment of heart disease much more successful for that person.

Bottom line:  If the newly found openness talking about the once taboo subject of impotence leads more men to the doctor’s office and in the process serious health concerns can be discovered and treated, more power to them!

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