Exercise and massage have one important element in common: they both get your body in motion. And as a general rule, more motion means improved health.
Much of the media coverage on exercise seems to focus on looking better and losing weight. These are great goals, but apparently not good enough to inspire most people to exercise often. More important results of being active are those that occur unseen, deep within your body.
Why is movement critical to proper health?
Just consider the inner workings of your body. Like a sprawling city, you’re composed of trillions of cells that all require and generate energy. When your lifestyle includes lots of physical movement, it’s similar to a well-designed city’s traffic flow—the energy of the city is kept in motion, with everybody able to get to work on time. Deliveries of life-enhancing products get to where they need to be, renovations on older structures get completed on schedule, and the industrial waste is efficiently removed. And like a well-tuned machine, we only notice how the system is working when we get stuck in traffic.
All of these internal activities require a constant state of motion. Even while you sleep your body is hard at work, making repairs and preparing for the coming day.
So what does massage have to do with all this?
The truth is that most of us don’t make the commitment to use our bodies the way they were designed to be used. Massage is a great way to put a little motion in your life without even breaking a sweat! While you relax and unwind, your body enjoys the benefits of the countless internal motions brought about by the bodywork strokes.
In Dean Juhan’s book, Job’s Body, he says, “Every part of us is continually undergoing dynamic changes, from liquid … states to solid gel states and back again as we grow, move, learn, and age, and no single part ever changes its state without sending reverberations out to all the other parts.”
Since massage sessions are full-body treatments, you get the benefit of contributing life-enhancing motion from head to toe—without lifting a finger!
Keep It Moving
There’s more proof that exercise can help people with arthritis stay fit enough to perform everyday tasks like cooking, dressing and bathing.
In a two-year study of more than 5,700 adults with arthritis age 65 and older, researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago found that the sedentary adults were twice as likely to have to limit their movements because of arthritis than the active participants.
Exercising more—by gardening, swimming or walking—could prevent a good deal of physical decline in people with arthritis, lead author Dorothy Dunlop, M.D., of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern wrote in the April issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism. Other research has found exercise can also help ease the joint pain caused by arthritis. —AARP Bulletin
The Ultimate Health Drink
One of the most common messages that massage therapists impart is: “Be sure to drink plenty of water!” Drinking adequate amounts of pure water is one of the simplest ways to help your body to be healthier! And what better time to do so than when the weather is hot! If you haven’t developed the water habit yet, read on to learn why you really should.
The following passages are excerpted from an online article written by S. Jhoanna Robledo:
“Health-care providers say water nourishes the entire body. ‘Water is a life-sustaining beverage,’ says Leslie Bonci, a registered dietician and author of The American Dietetic Association Guide to Better Digestion. ‘Every organ in the body needs water.’
Keeping the GI tract in fine working order
For water to get where it’s needed, it must be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. When you drink water, it travels quickly down the esophagus, through the stomach and into the intestines, where it’s partially diffused into the bloodstream, hydrating the body’s cells. The kidneys and the bladder make use of some of the water, and what’s left goes into the large intestine to move fecal matter.
“ ‘Water helps flush the system,’ says Dr. Donald F. Kirby, a gastroenterologist and chief of the nutrition section at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond, VA. When there aren’t enough fluids in the colon, patients suffer from constipation, a common gastrointestinal ailment.
“And one solution to constipation— eating a diet rich in fiber, which can be found in fruits, vegetables and whole grain—can’t work without adequate intake of fluids. ‘Fiber draws water from all sources in the body to make stools softer and easier to pass through,’ says Bonci.
“Water may also play a role in preventing colorectal cancer. The Mayo Clinic cites a study that showed that women who drank more than five glasses of water a day had a risk of colon cancer that was 45 percent less than that of those who drank two or fewer glasses a day.
“ ‘If you’re drinking enough fluids, you’re moving things more efficiently and quickly so toxins won’t be sitting in your gut for too long,’ says Bonci.”
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