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Natural Heartburn Remedies - Part 1

1/6/2013 4:26:00 PM by JoJo's Massage Therapy

In this three part series of blog posts I address one of the more frequent discomforts of our modern age, heartburn, and what can be done about it. Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. Some of the symptoms, however, are similar to those of a heart attack or heart disease. Heartburn is an irritation of the esophagus that is caused by stomach acid. It is triggered when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. This can create a burning discomfort in the upper abdomen or below the breast bone. Occasional heartburn isn't dangerous, but chronic heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can sometimes lead to serious problems. You are probably well aware that medications can help calm the burn, but natural heartburn remedies and lifestyle changes may be another way to get some relief. What Causes Heartburn? With gravity's help, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, keeps stomach acid in the stomach. The LES is located where the esophagus meets the stomach below the rib cage and slightly left of center. Normally it opens to allow food into the stomach; then it closes again. However, if the LES opens too often or if it does not close tightly enough, stomach acid can reflux, or seep, into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation. Which Natural Heartburn Remedies Really Work? One commonly used "natural" heartburn remedy is calcium. It's also the active ingredient in most over-the-counter antacids. If you find yourself popping antacids like candy and you are having heartburn more than a couple of times a week, it is time to see the doctor. You may have a condition called GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease. Frequent heartburn can lead to long-term problems, even cancer. However, stopping the acid reflux can help to prevent such complications. Do Herbal Heartburn Remedies Work? Most of the research on herbal heartburn remedies has centered on a product called Iberogast. Iberogast is a liquid formulation of nine herbs. It was develped in Germany in 1961, and it is available without a prescription. The herbs in Iberogast include: Angelica Caraway Clown's mustard plant German chamomile Greater celandine Lemon balm Licorice Milk thistle Peppermint Studies have shown that Iberogast reduces acid reflux, stomach pain, cramping, and nausea. It's not clear, however, which herb in the mix relieves symptoms. Plus, peppermint oil can actually worsen heartburn, so it's not a good idea to take it if you have GERD. Iberogast is readily available on the internet. Can Other Types of Supplements Help? One study showed that a dietary supplement containing a combination of melatonin, l-tryptophan, vitamins B6 and B12, and folic acid relieved GERD symptoms even better than the heartburn drug Prilosec. A number of other studies have shown that melatonin alone helps protect the digestive tract. Is There More That I Should Know? Yes, in fact, there is. Check back tomorrow for part two of this series on heartburn where I discuss some other home remedies that can help.

Tumeric Might Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

12/29/2012 3:27:00 PM by JoJo's Massage Therapy

Researchers, who published their results in the journal Diabetes Care in July, said they discovered that over nine months, a daily dose of curcumin – a compound in curry spice – appeared to prevent new cases of diabetes among people with so-called pre-diabetes, or abnormally high blood sugar levels that could eventually progress into full-blown Type II diabetes, which is also linked to obesity.
 
That study followed 240 adults with pre-diabetes who were randomly assigned to either take curcumin capsules or a placebo that looked identical but contained no active ingredient, Reuters reported. Participants took six capsules a day containing 250 mg each of “curcuminoids.”
 
After nine months, 19 of the 116 placebo patients had developed Type II diabetes, compared to none of the 119 patients who took the curcumin.
 
The researchers, led by Dr. Somlak Chuengsamarn of Srinakharinwirot University in Nakornnayok, Thailand, said their findings were an endorsement.
 
“Our study showed that the curcumin extract can effectively prevent the prediabetes population from developing type 2 diabetes mellitus,” wrote the research team. “Although we found that the results were quite remarkable, a longer trial may be required to see if the curcumin-treated prediabetes population will eventually develop type 2 diabetes mellitus.”
 
“Because of its benefits and safety, we propose that curcumin extract may be used for an intervention therapy for the prediabetes population,” the team wrote.
 
One thing experts agree on is that the concentration of curcumin is not the same in each extract or capsule.
 
Tumeric Extract Quality Varies
 
“Last year, the testing company ConsumerLab.com found that 20 percent of curcumin and turmeric supplements it tested failed the company’s quality review. And the cost of getting the amount of curcumin used in this study would range from 39 cents to $1.50 per day, depending on the supplement used,” Reuters reported.

 


The Benefits of Alfalfa - Part 2: Balances Hormones

12/22/2012 3:20:00 PM by JoJo's Massage Therapy

Alfalfa contains substances such as isoflavones and coumestans, which bind to estrogen receptors in the body. Estrogen binds to these receptors like a key in a lock. If the estrogen level is low and many of these "locks" are empty, the constituents of alfalfa - which resemble estrogen "keys" - bind to them instead and increase estrogenic activity. Alfalfa's estrogenlike "keys," although similar to estrogen, are not nearly as strong. If estrogen levels in the body are too high, the estrogen "keys" fill up some of the locks, denying the space to estrogen, thereby reducing estrogenic activity. Because alfalfa may provide some estrogenic activity when the body's hormone levels are low and may compete for estrogen-binding sites when hormone levels are high, alfalfa is said to be hormone balancing. Alfalfa Preparations and Dosage: Alfalfa is available in capsules, which you may take daily as a nutritional supplement. One or two capsules a day is recommended. You also can find bulk alfalfa leaves, which you can infuse to make a nourishing tea. Precautions: Canavanine, a constituent in alfalfa, may aggravate the disease lupus. Canavanine produces a lupus like disorder in monkeys who were fed diets high in alfalfa. Avoid alfalfa during pregnancy because of itscanavanine content and hormonally active saponins, both of which can cause problems. If you are pregnant, you may put a few sprouts on a sandwich now and then, but avoid daily consumption.

The Benefits of Alfalfa - Part 2: Balances Hormones

12/22/2012 3:20:00 PM by JoJo's Massage Therapy

Alfalfa contains substances such as isoflavones and coumestans, which bind to estrogen receptors in the body. Estrogen binds to these receptors like a key in a lock. If the estrogen level is low and many of these "locks" are empty, the constituents of alfalfa - which resemble estrogen "keys" - bind to them instead and increase estrogenic activity. Alfalfa's estrogenlike "keys," although similar to estrogen, are not nearly as strong. If estrogen levels in the body are too high, the estrogen "keys" fill up some of the locks, denying the space to estrogen, thereby reducing estrogenic activity. Because alfalfa may provide some estrogenic activity when the body's hormone levels are low and may compete for estrogen-binding sites when hormone levels are high, alfalfa is said to be hormone balancing. Alfalfa Preparations and Dosage: Alfalfa is available in capsules, which you may take daily as a nutritional supplement. One or two capsules a day is recommended. You also can find bulk alfalfa leaves, which you can infuse to make a nourishing tea. Precautions: Canavanine, a constituent in alfalfa, may aggravate the disease lupus. Canavanine produces a lupus like disorder in monkeys who were fed diets high in alfalfa. Avoid alfalfa during pregnancy because of itscanavanine content and hormonally active saponins, both of which can cause problems. If you are pregnant, you may put a few sprouts on a sandwich now and then, but avoid daily consumption.

The Health Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil

12/16/2012 4:24:00 PM by JoJo's Massage Therapy

Evening primrose seeds contain a fragrant oil that plays an important part in maintaining health naturally. The seed oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid our bodies can use to manufacture a prostaglandin that sooths inflammation and supports the immune system. It also helps keep the blood flowing freely, reduces high blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and might play a role in reducing breast cancers. Preparation Methods & Dosage: Evening Primrose seed oil may be taken as a supplement form or used as a salad and vegetable dressing. It is also great for skin care. Do not heat it as that can destroy its beneficial constituents.

Devil's Claw Can Relieve Aches and Pains

12/15/2012 1:58:00 PM by JoJo's Massage Therapy

Devils claw, Harpagophytum procumbens, a plant of the sesame family native to South Africa, offers slow but sure relief of joint pain caused by both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and it has also been shown to relieve muscle pain and enhance mobility for people with either arthritis or muscle injuries. Devils claw tubers contain a group of chemicals called iridoids that have anti-inflammatory activity, the two active ingredients in devil's claw are harpagoside and beta sitosterol. This herb has an extensive history of use as an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, and digestive stimulant. At this time, scientists don't know exactly how the active ingredients in devil's claw work to relieve inflammation, but it is known that it Devil's Claw is not a COX-2 inhibitor like Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or other NSAIDs, and therefore is not potentially injurious to the heart. Because improper digestion of protein plays a role in gout, causing the uric acid buildup, this is also a remedy for people with gout. Precautions: Devils claw is not recommended for those with an ulcer. High doses could interfere with blood pressure, heart, and diabetes medications. Preparation Methods & Dosage: Drink a strong tea of Devil's claw once a day for slow but steady relief of joint pain caused by both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, sports injuries and muscle pain. Devils claw can also be found in encapsulated and tincture forms.

Asian Massage vs. Swedish Massage: What are the Differences?

12/9/2012 1:41:00 PM by JoJo's Massage Therapy

Asian and Swedish massage differ in theory, practice and purpose. You'll know you're getting an Asian massage if the therapist uses fingers, elbows and sometimes feet on acupuncture points on your body. Swedish massage uses friction and it mainly focuses on the muscles that affect the circulation system. Determine your massage goals before hiring a masseuse who employs either or both types of massage therapy. The first major difference is in the execution of the two massages. Swedish massage uses five stroke patterns across all the major muscles in your body. The therapist applies the patterns in the form of minor vibrations, rhythmic tapping of the body and friction. All these will apply certain levels of pressure depending on what your preferences are. This type of massage will increase blood flow in your body and also help to relieve muscle tension. On the other hand, Asian massage aims to correct any imbalances in your body. It does so by putting or applying pressure on certain energy points on your body. Asian massage is based on ancient theories about the body's energy flow and traditional beliefs about mind-body connections. Swedish massage, on the other hand, is based on Western scientific understandings of the body. That is the main philosophical difference between them. Swedish massage focuses on the muscle layers, and employs light pressure. You might fall asleep during a Swedish massage. You may find the more intense pressure applied during Asian massage to be uncomfortable. However, at the end of an Asian massage, you should feel both relaxed and energized. At the end of a Swedish massage, you may feel like taking a nap; you might even have fallen asleep during the session.

Some Tips to Keep Your Liver Healthy

12/5/2012 12:29:00 PM by JoJo's Massage Therapy

Your liver is responsible for clearing toxins from your body.  Therefore, for optimal health, you need to help it do its job by doing all you can to keep it healthy and functioning well.

Try to increase your intake of the following foods:

  • Brassica vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, collard greens, broccoli and cauliflower
  • Leafy greens such as spinach, dandelion greens and kale
  • Foods that are high in fiber such as pears, apples, oats, and cinnamon


Foods to avoid or decrease in your diet include:

  • Nonorganic foods in general, but especially meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee

Some Tips to Keep Your Liver Healthy

12/5/2012 12:29:00 PM by JoJo's Massage Therapy

Your liver is responsible for clearing toxins from your body.  Therefore, for optimal health, you need to help it do its job by doing all you can to keep it healthy and functioning well.

Try to increase your intake of the following foods:

  • Brassica vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, collard greens, broccoli and cauliflower
  • Leafy greens such as spinach, dandelion greens and kale
  • Foods that are high in fiber such as pears, apples, oats, and cinnamon


Foods to avoid or decrease in your diet include:

  • Nonorganic foods in general, but especially meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee

Eat Cherries to Relieve Muscle Aches

12/3/2012 2:38:00 PM by JoJo's Massage Therapy

Why take pills if you can eat everyday foods that can help cure most common illnesses? For instance, you can try this remedy for aching muscles. The Remedy: Consume one cup of tart cherries, or two glasses of cherry juice, daily, before and during exercise. The Science: Cherries contain the same anti-inflammatory enzymes as ibuprofen, without the potential kidney and stomach-related side effects.

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