January 6, 2009 [Volume 3, Issue 3]
Not a subscriber?      Archives      Unsubscribe      Update e-mail address
In this issue of To Your Health:
Good Vibrations: Fitness for the New Year
Healthy Bacteria
Easy Energy Boosters

Good Vibrations: Fitness for the New Year

Vibration therapy and exercise are rapidly gaining momentum as useful tools by health professionals, including chiropractors, to provide exercise benefits for patients who may otherwise be unable to do regular training, or who simply want faster results than can be achieved through conventional exercise. Because vibration exercise allows you to contract your muscles involuntarily, a large amount of contractions can occur in a short period of time, putting less stress on your joints and allowing you to get the same exercise effects in 15 to 20 minutes compared to one hour at the gym.

Vibration exercise platforms work by simulating the body's natural stretch reflex, which creates an involuntary muscle contraction. In plain English, let's talk about what happens to your knee when your doctor taps it with a reflex hammer. The knee kicks out and will continue doing so every time the doctor taps it. This is something you can't control. Basically, the muscle is involuntarily contracting to the quick stretch brought on by the tap.

Now imagine yourself standing on a vibration platform in a comfortable, pain-free position. The platform will drop approximately 2-4 millimeters and can do that 20 to 50 times per second. In essence, instead of you moving up and down, the platform moves up and down. Every time it does that, it produces similar effects to getting your knee tapped by a reflex hammer. For example, in one minute, your thigh muscles can contract, involuntarily, up to 3,000 times!

Positive effects on strength: Vibration exercise, because it is involuntary, helps you use more of your muscles. When you use more muscles, you are able to do more. It's that simple. This is especially important for the elderly, who often require good strength to be able to stay independent.

Positive effects on circulation: Gentle, rapid contractions allow the muscle to work as a pump, resulting in increased blood flow within the circulatory system. This allows the body to carry off waste products much faster, thereby enhancing circulation and recovery. This is very important for people with diabetes, for whom poor circulation is a serious consequence of their condition.

Positive effects on bone: Vibration therapy/exercise has a positive effect on bone. This is based upon Wolffe's law, which states that bone responds to the physical stresses put on it. Rapid muscular contractions with vibration will lead to increased strength and favorable stresses being placed on the bone.

Less stress on joints: When we think of getting stronger, we always picture adding more and more weight to our bodies and then going through the exercise motions. However, what if you're limited by pain? With vibration therapy and exercise, because you are using only your own body weight, maximum joint comfort is produced.

With all the health and fitness benefits it provides, more and more people will be using it to get the benefits they want. Ask your doctor about vibration exercise and how it can help you.

Read More

Healthy Bacteria

It sounds somewhat disturbing, but there are many types of bacteria that are essential to good human health. Humans co-evolved with beneficial intestinal bacteria, and we live in a symbiotic relationship with them. The intestinal environment is a perfect habitat for bacteria; they have a constant supply of food, warmth and moisture. In return, the "good bacteria" provide us with valuable health benefits.

Most of these microbes live in a harmonious balance with each other and with us much of the time. However, sometimes this balance is disrupted by factors such as stress, antibiotic therapy or poor diet. Populations of good bacteria may decrease or disappear, depriving the intestine of the benefits they provide and often leading to overgrowth of pathogenic microbes that can then do us harm. Prebiotics and probiotics help restore and sustain a healthy microbial balance.

Prebiotics: If you eat a healthy, whole-food diet with lots of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and nuts, you are consuming prebiotics all the time. They occur commonly in many plant foods such as onions, bananas, wheat, artichokes, garlic, almonds, and other whole foods. The beneficial bacteria thrive when we eat many of these foods. This is part of the reason why eating a fruit- and vegetable-rich diet is so beneficial to health.

Probiotics: Probiotic is not the same thing as a "live culture," which is a microorganism added to food primarily as a fermenting agent. While some live cultures are probiotics (yogurt cultures, for example), many organisms are never used as food additives, such as certain species of E. coli. As with prebiotics, there are plenty of common foods that contain probiotics. Yogurt, some cheeses and fermented milk products, such as kefir, are examples. The most common commercial probiotics found in foods are species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, and occasionally the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

What's the take-away message here? In short, prebiotics and probiotics are useful in supporting the growth of beneficial microbes that can promote health and prevent disease. So, for generally healthy people, foods rich in pre- and probiotics may suffice to improve nutritional status, GI function, resistance to illness, and overall health. For people with certain health conditions, supplementation with specific strains of probiotic organisms may offer additional benefits beyond diet. Ask your doctor for more information.

Read More

Easy Energy Boosters

It's just past lunch, the turkey and Swiss on rye is settling in, and you know you have hours to go before you can stop pretending you're working. You're contemplating laying your head on your desk to catch some ZZZs. You need a pick-me-up and you need it fast, especially since you more than likely nixed that healthy sandwich you brought from home and went to the burger joint down the street for lunch.

Before you reach for one of the many sugar-loaded "energy" drinks that will inevitably send you "crashing" down, try an all-natural approach to boosting your energy. Here are a few simple and natural ways to raise your energy level during an afternoon slump.

1Take a brisk walk. Taking a walk outside not only causes your body to produce endorphins for a natural high, but it also allows your skin to soak in vitamin D from the sun's rays. This essential vitamin is associated with maintaining healthy bones, kidneys and immune system.
2Drink plenty of water. According to MayoClinic.com, even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. It makes sense, since nearly all of the major systems in your body depend on water including body temperature regulation and cell absorption of nutrients and oxygen.
3Take a breather. When we are stressed or tired we take short, shallow breaths, which directly affects our energy level by slowing oxygen flow to our brain and other organs. Try this: Inhale through your nose (filling your lungs to capacity) and hold for three seconds. Then exhale slowly until all air has left your lungs. Repeat and revive.
4Get up and stretch. Much like taking a walk, stretching facilitates healthy blood flow. Circulation is a key factor in your body's energy level. Try standing at your desk (or other appropriate place, depending on your work environment). While placing your left hand on your desk for support, lift your right foot up to your glute and hold at the ankle with your right knee pointed straight down. With your left knee slightly bent, flex your right glute and feel the stretch. Switch legs and repeat steps.

So, the next time you're at work daydreaming about curling up on your couch instead of working, try these simple suggestions to boost your energy. Your body will thank you for it.

Read More

Thank you for subscribing to To Your Health. If you have received this newsletter in error or wish to unsubscribe, you may remove your name from our e-mail subscription list at www.toyourhealth.com/newsletter/TYH/unsubscribe.php.

Update your e-mail address
To update the e-mail address your newsletter is sent to, click here.

If you have any questions regarding your subscription, please complete this form at www.toyourhealth.com/newsletterhelp/TYH.


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. MPA Media is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

MPA Media – 5406 Bolsa Ave., Huntington Beach, CA 92649