How Tai Chi Helps Alleviate Stress And Anxiety

Tai Chi provides a simple, accessible, and effective way to exercise the body and mind. The series of slow movements, performed with intense focus while breathing deeply calms the sympathetic nervous system, which guides the fight, or flight response. There are several styles of Tai Chi. Most of them incorporate poses, which take their names and movements from animals, vegetation, and other natural phenomena.

Activities, which support the health of the body, can also support mental health via the mind-body connection. Physical exercise provides many benefits. Tai Chi in particular offers a long list of physical and mental benefits. Regarding physical health, this form of exercise builds strength and muscular endurance, improves balance, increases flexibility, offers pain relief, and maintains joint health–allowing practitioners improved range of motion.

The mental health benefits include improved self-esteem and confidence, a more positive outlook and a general sense of well-being. It also allows practitioners to learn how to focus their attention; this ability may help some ease their tendency toward worry or anxiety.

The National Alliance On Mental Health reports that 18.1% of US adults experience some type of anxiety disorder, which includes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and various phobias. People also experience anxiety on a day-to-day basis as the pressure and stressors of life trigger the stress response in the body.

Tai Chi and Stress

A 2010 article published in the American Academy of Family Physicians journal, “Exercise, Yoga, and Meditation for Depressive and Anxiety Disorders,” analyzed several studies on the effects of Tai Chi, and other mind-body therapies, on anxiety and stress.

Analysis of the study outcomes showed Tai Chi improves the symptoms of depression in adults ages 50 to 84. The results also show the improvement may be primarily associated with the social support found by practicing Tai Chi in-group settings. The authors based this conclusion on follow-up observations, which showed declines in the improvements after class participation ended.

Tai Chi and Anxiety

Exercise in general causes improvements in the symptoms of people with anxiety disorder order. They experience a decrease in panic attacks, nervousness, and other symptoms. Tai Chi’s meditative element may lend further support for symptom relief.

The data analysis of the studies covered in the previously mentioned AAFP article indicated that meditation is an effective therapy for people with anxiety disorders.

Why Does It Work?

Tai Chi causes changes in the brain, which build cognitive functions and keep the brain young.

  • In general, people experience a loss in grey matter as they age. Grey matter is the conductor of brain activity; it carries the electrical signals of our thoughts to the different sections of the brain. Tai Chi practitioners build grey matter up to 40 percent with extended and consistent practice.
  • It increases cortical wall density. Thicker cortical walls are associated with decreased cognitive decline, which supports faster decision making, improved ability to focus and better memory.
  • Tai Chi builds neuroplasticity. It helps the brain build new connections based on daily experiences and reorganize current connections. As they learn and perform Tai Chi exercises, practitioners exercise their mental muscles: building attention, memory, and proprioception. This strengthens a person’s ability to manage daily stressors.
  • These brain benefits also prevent cyclical negative thoughts. Instead of worrying about past, present or future outcomes, Tai Chi practitioners are better able to move on to the next thought and address stressful situations in a forward thinking fashion.
  • Tai Chi is a meditative movement practice that involves slow, fluid movement as one transitions from one form to the next. This type of movement requires a high level of concentration from the mind, which in turn allows a profound calm to take place. This calming of the mind does not stop once a session of Tai Chi is over, with regular practice it becomes a part of the practitioner, which allows them to cope with life’s stress in a more calm and peaceful manner helping to reduce anxiety exponentially.

Tai Chi is especially beneficial for older adults and elderly people who find other forms of physical activity challenging. The slow-motion, low impact and meditative nature of the practice allow them to access multiple benefits without having to set aside time to exercise and an additional period of time to meditate. They experience health gains, stress relief, and decreased anxiety with one activity.

Consistent practice, two to three times per week, is the key to successfully using Tai Chi to combat depression and anxiety. The combined physical and mental benefits of practicing Tai Chi, along with its effectiveness, make it a popular alternative therapy with people of all ages.

*DISCLAIMER: THIS PUBLICATION IS NOT INTENDED TO BE MEDICAL ADVICE, IT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM.

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Can Tai Chi Slow The Aging Process?

All of us get older; this is just a simple fact of life. However, the aging process can differ from one person to the other. The better we take care of our health, and make healthy lifestyle choices the better the aging process will be.

This is a simple fact that is supported by mountains of scientific research.People who focus on prevention early in life can reap the benefits of being more vital, energetic, and healthier as they face their senior years.

Tai Chi is a form of exercise that can be used at any age and at any fitness level. This exercise began as a form of martial art but has found profound popularity in the modern world as a form of meditative movement that has great healing energy, helps to reduce pain, boost brain power,improve mind wellness, posture and balance. It also makes a great adjunct to medications used to treat the elderly depressed patient.

Can it actually slow the aging process along with its long list of health benefits?

A Recent Study On Aging And Tai Chi

A recent study was published in Cell Transplantation, which looked at the benefits of Tai Chi when it comes to the aging process. The study looked at levels of CD34 cells, which are important cells to many of our body’s organs and cellular metabolism. They knew that the numbers of this type of stem cell were important in aging and decided to see whetherTai Chi affected the number of CD34 cells in the body.

The study involved dividing groups of volunteers who were under the age of 25 at the time of the study. The participants were assigned activities such as brisk walking, Tai Chi, or no exercise program whatsoever. Youthful participants were studied because they renew cells better than older people do and the study was designed to last for one full year. These participants were free of any type of chronic disease and took no medications during the study period.

The Results

The study revealed that those participants who studied and practiced Tai Chi on a regular basis had a much greater number of rejuvenating CD34 cells than those who were in the other two groups.

With more of these stem cells in the system, it was felt that they could offset the cellular death and decline that goes with the aging process.

Researchers were quick to point out that the number of CD34 cells in the body only partially affects aging and that more studies on aging and Tai Chi need to be carried out before it can be determined that Tai Chi actually slows the aging process.

So far, Tai Chi has been found scientifically to help people who suffer from chronic pain syndromes, fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s disease—which is usually a problem affecting the aged population.

It also helps people improve their balance so they fall less, lessen stress, and reduce blood pressure. Besides the elevation in CD34 cells, things like reduced stress, lessened pain, and blood pressure reduction are known to prolong life and to improve the quality of one’s life.

A Chinese Study

Tai Chi is also known to improve memory in all age groups. A group of Chinese researchers looked at elderly people and their memory performance on memory tests. Those participants who took part in Tai Chi at least three times per week were able to do better on various memory tests after just 8 months of practicing Tai Chi.

The researchers compared scores on memory tests between Tai Chi practitioners and those that did not practice Tai Chi and discovered a significant difference in the brain’s ability to memorize things between the two groups.

Memory problems are another problem affecting the aged population so Tai Chi may be able to help this population have a better quality of life when they practice Tai Chi.

Parkinson’s disease patients, who are for the most part elderly, showed improvements in balance and coordination when they studied Tai Chi and practiced it regularly; they had fewer falls, which could have potentially led to hip and wrist fractures, some of which can lead to an early death.

Bottom Line

Tai Chi has a long list of health benefits, and supports and promotes mind, body, and spiritual wellbeing. It can be incorporated into any regular fitness routine that also includes aerobic and strength training workouts to yield a well-rounded and highly diverse training program that can support health, wellness, and better aging.

In various ways, Tai Chi appears to result in a longer life,and a better quality of life than if the individual didn’t practice Tai Chi. Further studies are necessary to see if there are other ways thatTai Chi can extend life and quality of life.

Let us know what you think about the information provided.

*DISCLAIMER: THIS PUBLICATION IS NOT INTENDED TO BE MEDICAL ADVICE, IT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM.

Home Remedies For Foot Pain

 

Foot Pain

Foot pain is another common ailment and can occur as a result of wearing bad shoes, work, wearing high heels for extended periods of time, wearing shoes without proper support in the arch or instep, and most commonly from being on your feet the whole day.

Sometimes, foot pain can be due to twisting your ankle or missing a step on the stairs and landing on the foot too hard.

Soak

If the foot pain is simply soreness due to fatigue from being on your feet the whole day or from wearing the wrong shoes try soaking your feet in hot water with Epsom salt.

There are also wonderful foot baths available that include jets that can provide blissful relief.

Sand

Put some sand in a pillow case and fold it to a rectangular shape. Put this “pillow” in the microwave for three minutes on high. Place the soles of your feet on the warm pillow.

If you don’t have sand, you can use grains of rice or dried beans or corn. You can also put hot water in a wine bottle. Put the wine bottle on a towel on the floor and roll your foot on the bottle.  This eases the pain of tired arches.

Rest

Nothing relieves tired feet better than taking all the weight off of them and getting some rest. Simply prop those tired soles on a pillow on the couch, elevate at a 45 degree angle and just relax for as long as possible. During a busy day, as little as 10 to 15 minutes can bring relief and rejuvenation.

Alternate Hot And Cold Water

Sit on the edge of your tub and run water over the feetalternating between hot and cold.

Ice Packs

For swollen feet an ice pack or ice cubes wrapped in a towel will bring relief.

Check Your Toenails

Sometimes foot pain comes from overgrown toe nails that make shoes feel tighter than they should.

Foot Massage

Nothing feels better for tired and achy feet than a massage. Ask your spouse for a rub.

Another option is to purchase any one of the wonderful foot massagers on the market.

Some offer Shiatsu, others feature rolling balls, and most have heat, which is truly wonderful to relieve aches and pains on a cold rainy night.

Wear Correct Shoes

There are shoes made for comfort and there are shoes made for fashion.

There are also shoes created for specific type of work that calls for long hours on one’s feet. Make absolutely sure that you are wearing the right shoes and they fit properly.

Let us know what you think about the information provided.

*DISCLAIMER: THIS PUBLICATION IS NOT INTENDED TO BE MEDICAL ADVICE, IT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY HOME REMEDY.

Home Remedies For Back Pain

 

Back pain

Back pain is a common condition that affects hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. It can be caused by injury, muscle strain, fatigue or improper posture.

It can also be a result of conditions such as scoliosis, degenerative diseases such as arthritis, or neuropathy. Back pain can also occur from simply working too hard or sitting too long in a chair at the office.

When back pain is severe or immobilizing and debilitating, it is important to seek medical care. But, when it is mild, or to complementa doctor’s care there are many home remedies that go nicely with any medically prescribed treatment.

Take caution here as painkillers are often prescribed for back pain, while your doctor’s advice is crucial, any prolonged taking of prescription opiates, such as, Vicodin, OxyContin, and Codeine is likely to result in a physical dependence (addiction).

Conversely, Ibuprofen is not addictive and can help with severe pain.

Check Your Mattress

First, check your mattress. If it’s very old, or no longer firm, it will not provide proper support, and result in a miserable sleep that results in an achy back.

Also check your office chair and make sure that it is providing the proper support, especially if you sit all day long.

Sit Up Straight

Next, be conscious of your posture.  Sometimes, when we concentrate, we slouch over our work. Bad posture further strains the back muscles.

Hot And Cold Compress

When back pain is a result of lifting heavy loads it can aggravate the muscles. Put an ice pack on your back as soon as you can after the injury. Continue with the cold compress for up to 48 hours.  This relieves any inflammation that might occur.

After the first 48 hours, try a warm compress to soothe the pain. Put hot water in a hot water bottle and wrap it in a towel. Apply this on the sore part of your back.

Hot Tub And Hot Baths

Take hot baths to soothe sore muscles and whenever possible soak in a hot tub (Jacuzzi) that has jets and sit in a position where those stimulate the soar area.

Massage

Massage is a great way to relieve sore muscles and loosen the back to find relive from strain. Ask your spouse or older child for a massage, or go to your local spa and get a professional massage.

The latter is not “exactly” a home remedy, but, one visit to a spa can quickly make it become your second home.

 

 

Yoga

If back ache persists despite remedies and prescription pain relievers, try yoga to strengthen the back muscles. Beginners should start by learning proper poses either by using a home workout DVD or by joining a class led by an experienced teacher.

Meditation

Meditation can help with pain perception, relaxation, and stress reduction that can exasperate pain.

It is also a fitness routine that is comprised of various poses or postures that help to greatly increase strength, and flexibility for all body parts, which, inevitably will improve back strength.

Let us know what you think about the information provided.

*DISCLAIMER: THIS PUBLICATION IS NOT INTENDED TO BE MEDICAL ADVICE, IT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY HOME REMEDY.

Home Remedies For Colds and Flu

Colds and Flu

The most common infections that humans catch are the cold and flu and they are hard to avoid.

There is no vaccine for the cold. As for the flu, the vaccines which are made available do not protect against all possible strains and some people catch it anyway.

The symptoms of the common cold and the flu are often indistinguishable: fever, itchy and runny nose, sinus pain, itchy and sore throat, headache and body aches.

Improve Your Immunity

The best remedy against colds and flu is a strong immune system that is supported by a sensible diet:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh fish
  • Whole grains
  • Lean chicken and meat
  • Nuts and legumes

Disinfect

Another way to deter infection is to wash hands after using the bathroom, after using public transport, a public telephone or even holding on to the handrails on the elevator.  This is because the viruses responsible for the common cold and the flu are easily transmitted when we touch things that have been touched by an infected person.

Any droplet of breath or saliva that is virus-laden can be transmitted by hand as it reaches the mucus membranes and will probably lead to infection. So, touching your nose, eyes and lips with unwashed hands can potentially introduce a cold or flu into your body.

Alternatives To Cold Medications

There are a lot of cold medicines that you can purchase over-the-counter. Some of them actually stall the body’s natural healing process because they prevent necessary functions of it, such as, drainage of infection by drying up the nasal passages.

 

Steam

If your nose is stuffy, put your head above a bowl of steaming hot water with a towel draped over your head and breathe in the steam deeply. This really helps to liquefy mucus and facilitate the much needed drainage process naturally.

Ice Packs

An ice pack placed on the head can relieve a headache from a cold.

Sinus Relief

Sometimes, a headache results when the sinuses are inflamed. When this happens, the cheeks, nose area and pretty much the entire face can ache and feel like it’s going to explode.

Remedy:

  1. Prepare two bowls: fill one with ice water and fill the other with hot water (as hot as you can stand).
  2. Soak a small face towel in each of the bowls.
  3. Alternate the hot and cold compress on your face, letting the compress stay until the heat of cold from the towel dissipates.

Also, gently massaging the area around the nose can help to loosen mucus build up and bring relief.

Neti Pot

A Neti pot is a handy little gadget that helps with sinus infections by draining the mucus build up.

Warm Salt Water

Gargling with warm salty water can alleviate an itchy and sore throat and help with healing.  If the itchiness is accompanied by phlegm, add lemon juice as this will loosen phlegm.

Hot Peppers And Spice

Hot peppers and spicy foods naturally clear up sinuses and stimulate drainage, which speeds the healing process.

3 Herbs That Heal Colds

  • Licorice Root – Licorice root has glycyrrhizin a natural anti-viral that studies have shown is effective in fighting the flu. In Ayurvedic medicine, licorice root is an effective expectorant. Check with your doctor if you are taking any medications as licorice can conflict with some.
  • Garlic – Garlic is a natural immunity booster. There are all natural garlic supplements available over the counter, or if you can take it you can eat fresh garlic a few times per day. One way to make this easier is to sprinkle some crushed garlic over scrambled eggs or some other food that you enjoy.
  • Thyme – Fresh Thyme or Thyme essential oil can help during a cold or flu because it is a natural expectorant helping to clear the lungs of mucus, which, speeds healing.
  1. Tea: Make a Thyme tea by steeping 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme in a cup of boiling-hot water for 10 minutes.
  2. Make a thyme steam bowl: Boil water and place into large bowl. Add some fresh thyme or a few drops of thyme essential oils. Cover your head with a towel and place it over the bowl and inhale the steam.

Hydration

Drink a lot of pure vegetable, pure fruit juice and water as this will bring fever down and it will keep you from getting dehydrated. Pure means freshly squeezed without added sugar.

Nutrition

When you have the cold or flu, you will certainly lose your appetite. Eating chicken soup and crackers is a good way to keep your strength up and provide your body with proper nutrition that will give it needed energy for healing. Plus, chicken soup just makes you feel better, ask your grandma.

Hot Tea With Lemon

Hot tea with lemon and honey soothes everything and anything associated with a cold or flu, it just feels good going down.

Let us know what you think about the information provided.

*DISCLAIMER: THIS PUBLICATION IS NOT INTENDED TO BE MEDICAL ADVICE, IT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY HOME REMEDY.