Lifestyle Adjustments That Can Help with Pain Management

Yoga Strength

If you’re one of the thousands of Americans who live with chronic pain, you should know that there are simple lifestyle changes you can make to improve your overall quality of life. These tactics aren’t just for people with chronic pain, though; anyone can use these methods to feel a bit stronger and refreshed.

Try Some Stretches and Yoga

Yes, lots of people are touting the benefits of yoga these days, but that’s because there are certain poses (or asanas) that are perfect for different types of pain. In fact, no matter where your chronic pain is, odds are that there are some yoga poses or stretches for it. Some people find that doing yoga has a nearly miraculous effect on their back pain. Others use these stretches to help with their hip flexors, their shoulders, or their necks. You never know until you try! Plus, you can find classes at your local gym as well as online.

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Processed foods can make you feel full and heavy, which discourages you from being active and looking after your health. Instead, reach for foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Some great examples include berries, black beans, broccoli, garlic, ginger, green tea, oats, red pepper, spinach, and turmeric.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

If you’re carrying some extra weight, this could be putting unnecessary strain on your joints, and this could exacerbate your chronic pain. Do your best to eat a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in whole plant foods, including the anti-inflammatory ones mentioned above. In addition, stay active in a way that brings you joy. This might be a daily walk around the park, riding a bike, swimming, or doing yoga. Remember that the power of the mind plays a role in how we feel both mentally and physically. Bust stress by staying social, getting enough sleep, and doing activities you enjoy.

from Nicholas Sasson, MD | Healthcare https://nicholassassonmd.com/lifestyle-adjustments-that-can-help-with-pain-management/
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Alumni Highlight: Lola Boyers | achs.edu

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It’s amazing how one little thing can change the course of your life. That’s what happened to ACHS graduate Lola Boyers when she happened to start reading Natural Cures They Don’t Want You To Know About by Kevin Trudeau. Lola doesn’t remember where she got the book, but is glad she did because it jump-started her passion for holistic health at the age of 52.

from ACHS Holistic Health and Wellness Blog http://info.achs.edu/blog/alumni-highlight-lola-boyers
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Brain Cell Regeneration

Brain Cell

You might have been told that once brain cells get destroyed, they can’t come back. This was the long-standing belief in the scientific community for a century, but the last couple of decades have unveiled findings that point to brain cell regeneration.

Cell Regeneration in the Hippocampus

Back in the 1990s, researchers found that neurons were being regenerated in the hippocampus of monkeys. A few years later, another study showed neurogenesis in monkeys’ cerebral cortex. Not only that, but there were three different areas of the cerebral cortex that experienced neurogenesis in adult monkeys. These were the prefrontal region, the inferior temporal region, and the posterior parietal region. Given that primates share a lot in common with humans, scientists had to reevaluate all they had assumed about brain cells.

Neurogenesis in Humans

Researchers have found that the hippocampus of human adults also experienced brain cell regeneration, specifically in the dentate gyrus, which is responsible for memory. Neurogenesis was also observed in the olfactory bulb, which regulates our sense of smell. 

If cell regeneration is possible in these parts of the brain, it opens the door for neurogenesis in other brain regions as well. Scientists are now focusing on looking at cell growth in the amygdala and hypothalamus. The amygdala is responsible for our feelings of fear and other emotions. The hypothalamus helps the autonomic nervous system and pituitary gland function properly. People with pituitary gland disorders experience things such as abnormal growth, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and memory loss.

Future Studies

More research is needed to determine how this regeneration works, but it could pave the way for better treatment of disorders and some mental health issues. Scientists are particularly hopeful about studying brain cell regeneration to treat a range of psychiatric disorders, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia.

from Nicholas Sasson, MD | Science https://nicholassassonmd.org/brain-cell-regeneration/
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Student Highlight: Nicole Berry | ACHS.EDU

nicole berry header

Nicole Berry at Machu Picchu, Peru.

Nicole Berry connects language, travel, and nutrition in her study abroad program Nutrition and Natural Medicine in Peru. As an ACHS student who lives in Spain for most of the year, Nicole says that online school fits well into her life. “It’s very supportive of my lifestyle, which is traveling a lot and running a company. I can study when I have time at my own pace and don’t need to be in a physical location,” she says. 

from ACHS Holistic Health and Wellness Blog http://info.achs.edu/blog/student-highlight-nicole-berry
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Interesting Facts About Blood

Blood

Most of us only think about our blood when we get hurt or need to get a blood test. Yet this substance truly gives us life, so it deserves more of our attention. The primary job of our blood is to deliver oxygen to the cells throughout our body, but there’s more to blood than meets the eye!

Blood Makes up About 8% of Your Body Weight

The average human adult has a little over a gallon of blood in his or her body. It’s a bit weird to think of blood in terms of gallons, but it’s interesting to think of all that blood circulating around our bodies day in and day out.

Golden Blood

Our blood may be red, but it also contains a very small amount of gold. The average human body has 0.2 milligrams of gold as well as atoms of chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, and zinc.

The Life Span of Blood Cells

Our bodies contain different blood cells, and they have varying life spans. White blood cells, which protect the body from disease, live for mere hours. Platelets are a part of the blood that stops our blood from flowing, allowing clotting and clumping. Platelets only live for a little over a week. Red blood cells are the main component of our bodies’ blood and deliver oxygen to the cells. Red blood cells live for about four months.

Blood Is Affected by the Sun

It turns out that UV rays from the sun have an effect on the body’s blood pressure. When we’re out in the sun, the UV rays increase the level of nitric oxide in our blood. This results in lower blood pressure levels, which reduces our risk of heart disease. Getting some sun can be good for your body and mind; just don’t stay out too long without sunscreen!

from Nicholas Sasson, MD | Science https://nicholassassonmd.org/interesting-facts-about-blood/
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Tips for Healthy Bones

Bone Health

One of the main concerns of getting older is that bone and joint health will decrease. While this naturally happens to our bodies to some extent, there are also lifestyle and environmental factors that can speed up the diminishing of bone health. Here are some tips you can start trying out today to sustain the strength and well-being of your bones.

Get Enough Calcium

Your doctors may be urging you to consume more calcium, and they’re right. This mineral is crucial to bone health and the older you are, the more calcium you need on a daily basis. Those under 50 should get 1000 milligrams a day while those older than 50 should get 1200 milligrams. Foods such as almonds, broccoli, cheese, kale, milk, and soy products are good sources of this mineral. You can also try supplements if your diet isn’t giving you enough calcium. It’s important to keep in mind that calcium needs Vitamin D in order to be properly absorbed by the body. Food sources of Vitamin D include eggs, oily fish, and fortified cereals.

Get Active

Exercise is critical to our well-being throughout our lives. Things such as aqua aerobics and daily walks are great for your heart but you should also incorporate some weightlifting exercises into your fitness routine. This doesn’t mean that you need to lift heavy weights at the gym. Some simple hand weights are all you need to keep those bones strong. As an added bonus, you’ll maintain your muscle mass for much longer too!

Check Your Hormone Levels

Women are more likely than men to deal with bone fractures and osteoporosis (weakening of the bones) and hormone levels can affect bone health even more. Be sure to get your hormone levels checked regularly. Women who are in menopause or have amenorrhea (loss of menstruation) need to be especially diligent about checking hormone levels, getting enough calcium, and monitoring their bone health.

from Nicholas Sasson, MD | Healthcare https://nicholassassonmd.com/tips-for-healthy-bones/
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Holistic Approaches to Fibromyalgia | Part III | achs.edu

In Part 1 of the series, A Holistic Approach to Fibromyalgia, I shared my journey from conventional medicine to arriving at a diagnosis of joint hypermobility and fibromyalgia. In Part 2 I talked about my ventures into researching natural therapies and holistic solutions to my symptoms. In this article I will get specific about the practices that I have found helpful in alleviating pain and fatigue. First, I want to examine a facet of this story that no doctor has ever mentioned to me.

from ACHS Holistic Health and Wellness Blog http://info.achs.edu/blog/holistic-approaches-to-fibromyalgia-part-iii-achs.edu
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Can Lack of Sleep Damage the Brain?

Tired

We all know that sleep is crucial to our health, but it’s easy to write it off as one of those things we should do when we have the chance. It turns out that skimping on sleep isn’t just bad for your body, but it can damage the brain as well.

Short and Long-Term Effects of Sleep Loss

Sure, a day or two of poor sleep can make us feel groggy, cranky, and unable to concentrate as well. However, those short-term effects aren’t the only things going on. Researchers have proven that sleep loss and extended periods of wakefulness can create long-term damage to the brain, including killing off neurons.

Neurons are the primary brain cells in our nervous system, helping us feel the five senses, register that we’re in pain, and much more. Damage to these neurons can result in mood disorders and decreased cognitive performance. 

The Mice Study

Researchers conducted sleep experiments on lab mice at the University of Pennsylvania. They had three groups of mice: one that slept normally, one that was kept awake for three extra hours each night, and another that was kept awake for an additional eight hours.

The experiment lasted for three days, after which the scientists took brain tissue samples from the mice. The third group of mice experienced a 30% decrease in brain neurons and showed symptoms of oxidative stress. This occurs when free radicals overwhelm the body’s natural defense system. While more research is needed to see if these effects would be similar in humans, it’s a wake-up call (pun intended) for many people.

Optimizing Sleep

If you want to get better sleep, it’s time to start making it a priority in your life. Proper sleep hygiene, as they call it, is critical to getting quality shut-eye. Start by keeping a regular bedtime and removing distractions, such as work and technology, from your bedroom.

from Nicholas Sasson, MD | Science https://nicholassassonmd.org/can-lack-of-sleep-damage-the-brain/
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Tips to Help You Improve Your Sleep Quality as You Age

Sleep

Isn’t it interesting that as we get older, we relish the simple luxury of sleep, and yet it’s so hard to come by? The truth is, sleep quality can diminish as we age. But it doesn’t have to be an imminent reality that we can no longer get a good night’s sleep. Here are ways to improve your slumber that you can implement tonight.

Limit Daytime Napping

Yes, naps are absolutely wonderful, but if they’re too long, then they can interfere with your nighttime sleep. If you want to nap during the day, keep it short. Anything over 30 minutes will be long enough to disrupt your slumber during the night.

Go Easy on the Drinks

Lots of people enjoy a nightcap to end their evenings, and while a glass of wine may help you feel sleepy, that feeling won’t last. Alcohol can actually mess with the natural rhythm of our bodies, causing us to toss and turn at night. In addition, replace your after-dinner coffee with some caffeine-free tea and try to limit your consumption of all beverages an hour before bedtime. This will help to prevent those urgent trips to the bathroom at three in the morning.

Check Your Medications

As we get older, we may take additional medications to help with illness or physical conditions. Be sure to check if any of your medications are interfering with your sleep schedule. You can talk to your doctor about this if you’re unsure.

Speaking of medications, it may help to take a milligram or two of melatonin an hour before bedtime. It is a short-term solution for helping you get to sleep, but if you can commit to a routine bedtime each night, then the addition of melatonin for a few weeks could be a huge help. Our bodies love routine, so going to bed and waking up at the same time can be a great way to fix your quality of sleep naturally.

from Nicholas Sasson, MD | Healthcare https://nicholassassonmd.com/tips-to-help-you-improve-your-sleep-quality-as-you-age/
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