Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Positive Effects of Meditation and Yoga in the Healthcare System

 

Positive effects of meditation and yoga shown throughout healthcare system

 

While the Western world took a considerable amount of time to discover yoga and meditation compared to the ancient Eastern world, its positive effects are beginning to show throughout the modern day healthcare system. In a recent study carried out by Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)’s Institute for Technology Assessment and the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI),meditation it was found that meditation and yoga has helped to reduce healthcare costs by as much as 43%. In the study, patients participated in a relaxation training program which significantly lowered stress-levels and anxiety while lowering blood pressure, heart rate and decreasing muscle tension. The patients were found to use much fewer health care services in the year following their participation in the relaxation program. Utilising both the data from the Harvard Relaxation Program and also data obtained from the Research Patient Data Registry (RPDR) of Partners HealthCare from between 2006 and 2014 shows a reduction in the need for additional healthcare services.

 

Considering anxiety and depression rate as the third biggest expenditure in American healthcare services, adopting almost cost-free services such as yoga and meditation could see huge pressure lifted off the health care system. This could include greater availability of services and more prompt delivery of those services and also see more funding available for research on other non stress-related diseases that require more attention. Prescribing medication such as anti-depressants only fixes the problem short term. Focusing on more long-term alternatives such as regular yoga or meditation should be the key to effectively helping a patient reach optimal vitality and assist in the recovery and treatment of disease. Unfortunately modern Western medicine is not yet focused on this and still relies almost solely on medication.

 

The link between body and mind

 

Going back to the Eastern World, many practitioners believe there is a very strong link between body and mind and the prevalence of many diseases. This belief has only in recent times spread into the Western World where before they have long believed that the mind is not interconnected to the body. In our modern day, fast paced lifestyles it becomes quite easy to forget about the importance of slowing down and taking time out for ourselves. Every day we find so many places we need to be, people we need to see, jobs we need to do and children we need to take care of. Couple this with emotional, financial and physical stress, it’s no wonder we have a hard time actually paying attention to what ourfresh air body is trying to tell us. It goes even deeper, in that we are also seeing a link between the mind and the immune system and our emotions and their effect on our body. These incredible findings have been made much more easier to prove thanks to development in technology, in particular in neuroimaging which measures specific brain function and molecular biology which reads various biological interactions between cells.

 

When you are stressed your body releases hormones that have a big impact on how your nervous system and internal organs function. Cortisol is the main hormone that affects your body’s function when placed under stress. It has been found to impair memory and function, increase weight and bring about multiple cardiovascular diseases. Your digestive system can also be directly affected by stress and it has been shown that nutrients are not as effectively absorbed when stressed. Irritable bowel syndrome and food allergies are also closely linked to stress. The brain communicates to your stomach via the vagus nerve.

 

When placed under continual stress your immune system begins to suffer which leaves you wide open to many illnesses. The body is unable to fight effectively against harmful bacteria and infections, resulting in inflammation which can occur at many levels. For this reason it is believed that many autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and osteoarthritis form in the body as a result of stress.

 

Adapting yoga and meditation into your schedule

 

Attending a yoga or meditation class even once a week can have a big impact on your overall health and wellness. A guided class will allow you to dedicate at least an hour to your practice without distraction. If you are unable to find the time to attend a class, there are many guided meditation and yoga sequences available on the internet. Finding a quiet place in the house and spending ten minutes a day at a scheduled time will help you develop the important habit of taking time out for yourself. You can then extend your practice to a longer period of time as the weeks go on.

 

The simple act of focusing on your breath will do wonders at reducing your stress levels and calming your mind. When you have a relaxed stress response system you will notice deeper breathing, a lowered heart rate and a positive change in your overall mood.

 

Hopefully in the future we will see the prevalence of many more yoga and meditation programs offered in place of prescription medication to treat a variety of mental illness and mind-body related disease.

 

Please share with family and loved ones.  Call us with your questions, healthcare concerns, and let us develop a personalized healthcare plan for you.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL

 

Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Healthiest Green Soup

greensoup

Healthy Green Soup

If you are feeling weak then have a healthy green soup as a meal replacement is a great idea to boost energy levels. Soups are healthy, especially the green soup which is incredible for health and taste. You can also detox on soup by making a large batch, refrigerate and consume as your main lunch and dinner meals for two days. You will notice a big difference in your energy levels as the system is detoxified.

RECIPE

-Spinach 500grams

-2 tomatoes

-3x small green vegetables (whatever you have in stock)

-1x carrot

-1x small broccoli head

-1x squash

-1x small sweet potato

-1x leek

-2x onions

Directions

  1. If you want the soup not very thick then wash the vegetable stock properly and chop neatly.
    2. Boil the stock until it simmers. Then add the chopped spinach and onion into the stock.

3.Cook for another ten minutes.

4.Once, all the green veggies get blended well then you can serve it hot.

Health benefits

-Spinach is highly nutritious and contains over 22 vitamins and minerals including vitaminA,B,C and K and minerals iron, copper and calcium. Spinach also contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties powerful enough to combat cancer.

-Tomatoes contain over 21 vitamins and minerals which include vitamins A,B3,C and K and minerals potassium, biotin and folate.

-Carrots are well known for their ability to improve vision due to their high content of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A upon consumption and is a strong preventer against cancer types, high blood pressure and forms of heart disease. Carrots contain over 16 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A,B6,C and K and minerals manganese, copper and biotin.

–Broccoli is one of the healthiest foods available as it contains over 24 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A,B2,C and K and minerals magnesium, zinc and calcium. Broccoli has been strongly touted for its anti-cancer properties and supports a healthy cardiovascular system.

-Squash contains 20 vitamins and minerals being vitamins B2,C and K and minerals potassium, fiber and magnesium.

– Sweet potatoes contain vitamins A,B6 and C and minerals potassium, manganese and copper. They have strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Sweet potatoes are low in fat and high in fiber, making it a healthy addition to any meal as they support healthy digestion.

-Leeks support a health cardiovascular system thanks to their protective properties and contain vitamins A,C and E.

– Onions are also a great source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin B1,B6 and C and minerals manganese, biotin and phosphorus. Onions have anti-inflammatory properties that are great for supporting your immune system and protecting against disease.

 

Please share with family and loved ones.  Call us with your health care concerns,

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL

 

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Black Lines in Your Finger Nails?

blackllines

 

Black Lines in Your Fingernails—Splinter Hemorrhages or Melanoma?

Have you ever looked down at your hand and discovered black lines in your fingernails? What about your toenails? It can be pretty weird and unsettling, and it can also be the result of some bigger health problems. When red or black lines in the fingernails are vertical in shape, it could be a sign of melanoma or heart disease, so getting it checked out by the doctor is highly recommended.

 

What Are These Black and Red Lines in My Fingernails?

 

Not every black or red line running vertically down your fingernail or toenail is a cause for worry. Sometimes it can be related to a nutritional deficiency or an injury, and other times it can be benign. But sometimes it means cancer.

 

What kind of cancer is represented by black lines in the fingernails? Melanoma; specifically, a type called longitudinal melanonychia. This occurs when there is an overproduction of melanocytes, which are mature melanin-forming cells, in the area of the nail. Sometimes called “nail moles,” these black marks are similar to moles that can appear on other parts of the body (such as your arms, shoulders, face or back), and many times they are not malignant, but all the same they should be checked out by a dermatologist.

Black lines may not always be directly related to mole growth or melanoma, but could also be caused by aging, nutritional issues, arthritis, fungus infections, or a heart infection. Red lines that may develop under your nails are also an indicator that something could be wrong. These red lines, called splinter hemorrhages, can be the result of a heart infection that have caused capillaries to burst. We’ll take a closer look at these later.

 

Are the Black Lines in Your Fingernails Cancer?

Upwards of 75% of the time, these black lines occur on your thumbnail or big toenail, and the severity and prevalence will differ on who you are and your age. Dark-skinned people, for example, are far more likely to see black lines forming under their nails, but they also have more instances where said lines are benign. On the other hand, such lines are far less common in Caucasians, but when they do appear there’s a better chance that it’s melanoma. It should be noted that this type of melanoma, subungual melanoma, is extremely rare, especially in the United States.

 

When melanoma is responsible for the appearance of the lines, your doctor will consider a few things, such as:

 

Age: It’s much more common in those 50 to 70.

Width of the line: If the line is wider than three millimeters, it may be a cause for concern.

Pigment change: If the look of the pigment band at the top of the nail is discolored, it could be an indication that the lines are malignant melanoma.

Where it’s located: The thumb and big toe are the most common locations, followed by the index finger.

The coverage area: If the discoloration extends into the cuticle or nail fold, it could be cancerous. This means that your body is continuing to produce more of whatever’s causing the discoloration.

Family history: If someone else in your family has been diagnosed with melanoma, it could increase the chances you have it.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s recommended that you get to your doctor for an examination. There really isn’t much you can do on your own at this point, so it’s important to seek proper medical attention.

 

When Black Lines in the Fingernails and Toenails Aren’t Cancerous

Of course, the black lines in your nails may not be melanoma. As mentioned, they are common in dark-skinned individuals, often without health repercussions. Still, it’s a good idea to show them to your doctor regardless of complexion and age.

 

As mentioned earlier, a fungus could cause the appearance of these lines, or it could simply be a result of aging. It could also have something to do with nerve damage resulting from a chronic condition like arthritis. Sometimes it could even be linked to a nutritional imbalance or deficiency.

 

When it’s a result of nutritional imbalances, then low blood levels of zinc, iron, calcium, or biotin could be the culprits. High levels of selenium may also play a role in forming black lines under the fingernails, so paying attention to diet and supplementation could offer some help. As always, it’s recommended to eat a balanced diet packed with nutrients. When your diet is made up primarily of vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, animal protein, and whole grains, you’ll be getting adequate amounts of all the nutrients you need. Taking a daily multivitamin to fill in the gaps can be a good idea, but it shouldn’t be used as your primary source of nutrition.

 

Are the Black Lines in Your Fingernails Heart Disease?

Black lines can signify some further health troubles, but so can reddish or brown ones. These lines, mentioned earlier, are called splinter hemorrhages and indicate small areas of bleeding beneath the nails. These thin red lines run vertically down the nail, and basically look like splinters, from which they draw their name. These can occur for a number of reasons, and sometimes it can be an indicator of heart disease or cardiovascular problems.

 

Splinter hemorrhages may be caused by small blood clots that damage the small capillaries beneath the nail. They can also occur as a result of:

 

An infection to the heart valve (also called endocarditis);

Vessel damage from swollen blood vessels (vasculitis); and

A bacterial infection resulting from an injury to the area.

Damaged blood vessels can be caused from a variety of factors and they can appear in other areas of the body, as well. The eyes and nose are other places where this is seen, and can be a result of stress or heart troubles. To combat this from occurring, it might be worthwhile to explore some lifestyle changes including more exercise, an improved diet, limiting stress, quitting smoking, limiting drinking, and trying to find ways to get better sleep.

 

Black Lines in the Nails during Pregnancy

Pregnant women may also notice black lines or spots under their nails, or on other areas of the body. This is really nothing to worry about and should subside shortly after the pregnancy has concluded. Pregnancy prompts all kinds of hormonal changes, one of which can be accelerated melanin production.

 

Beyond Cosmetics: You Can’t Just Cover Up Black Lines in Your Fingernails

If you notice tiny black lines in your fingernails, there may be something severe causing it, with the worst-case scenarios being cancer in the form of melanoma or heart disease. If you notice these lines forming, please, don’t ignore them and go see your doctor as soon as you can.

 

Please share with family and friends.  Always call us with your concerns or questions, or picture of your fingernails.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived: Marchione

312-972-Well