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October 2, 2020 Senior Lifestyle0

Our senior population has always been at risk of isolation. Being amid a pandemic has increased that risk exponentially. While human to human contact has been minimized for every demographic, the need for companionship and connection is, perhaps, more vital than ever. Luckily, the addition of a pet may help fulfill many of the emotional needs that are lacking in a senior’s life. Read on to learn our top five reasons why the senior in your life could benefit from having a pet. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are several benefits of owning a pet. This includes decreased blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and feelings of loneliness, and increased opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities, and socialization.

Companionship

With the Coronavirus pandemic and the growing potential for senior isolation, pets may provide a sense of companionship to their owners. Loneliness may lead to depression and anxiety. The addition of a living being may help the senior in your life overcome those conditions and cope with long periods without friends or family around.

The bond between a human and their pet should not be underestimated or taken lightly. A study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which included 2,233 pet owners in the United States (74% of dog owners, 60% of cat owners, and 45% of bird owners), considered their pet to be a child or family member. Imagine the amazing psychological and mental health benefits that would have on a senior, who’s family has grown up and moved out. The study also revealed that pet owners in the United States spent $34.4 billion on their pets, making the pet industry nearly double the toy industry’s size.

Exercise

Pets may offer the elderly a reason to get out and get active. You may be wondering, “what is the best pet for a senior?” For those who can still walk and move about with ease, a dog may be the perfect addition to their lives. It will give them a reason to stay active and enjoy the outdoors. Generally, larger dogs require more extensive exercise regimens and more space (i.e., a big yard). If that isn’t available, consider either a smaller dog or an elderly dog. Check with your local ASPCA or shelter. They may even offer free pet adoption for seniors. With several fire evacuations in effect on the west coast, many pet shelters are overfull and in need.

Cats also make fantastic pets for seniors because they are relatively self-sufficient and don’t need to be taken for walks. A self-cleaning litterbox may be all that is required. If the cat is allowed outdoors, consider installing a pet door so that they can go in and out without any assistance.

Security

Because the senior population may be vulnerable, they have an inherent risk for home theft or burglary. If no one nearby can help protect them from predators, a pet may offer the perfect solution. Even though most well-natured dogs won’t necessarily attack someone who trespasses, they will likely bark and make noise when anyone approaches their home. This can, at the very least, give the senior an alert that someone is coming. If the pet of choice is a larger or more aggressive breed, they may be territorial enough and pose a threat to unwanted visitors by looks alone.

Emotional Support

After the passing of a spouse, many elders wind up living alone. They may go days or weeks without friends or family members stopping by for a visit. This can lead to emotional (or physical) isolation. All human beings need touch and connection to maintain their mental health. A pet can be the perfect solution for fulfilling this need. Mammals especially enjoy being pet, touched, cuddled, and spoken to.

According to Dacher Keltner, Ph.D. and professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkely, “To touch is to give life.” In his article, he explains that preterm newborns who received a mere three 15-minute sessions of touch therapy each day for just five to ten days gained a whopping 47% more weight than premature infants who had received standard medical treatment. He also explains that touch signals safety and trust, it soothes, and even calms cardiovascular stress. This is all due to the release of oxytocin, aka, “the love hormone.” This release is triggered by touch and contact. A pet may be the perfect means to stimulate this response, and these benefits for a senior who lives alone.

Structure and Routine

After a lifetime of working hard and a fruitful career, many elders may be burdened with a sense of futility and boredom after they retire. The transition from upholding many responsibilities and caring for others to a life alone with no assignments may lead to depression and confusion. The pandemic proved to many people of all ages that it could be easy to lose track of what day it is and the time when the structural confines of schedules and tasks are removed from our lives.

For an elder who lives alone, a pet may help instill a sense of purpose, structure, and routine. Taking care of a living being who demands food at certain times, regimented exercise, health and wellness checks, and regular hygiene care may be an excellent addition to the life of someone who doesn’t have much else to worry about. It could give them a sense of structure and routine.

In addition to these five benefits of pet ownership, there are many opportunities for socialization with other humans based on having a furry friend. If you are in the Boston area, here are several Meetups for pet owners. Most places have Meetups, so feel free to search the city that you live in to connect with other people with pets.


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They may look like space boots, but NormaTec devices won’t take you to the moon. They will, however, propel you to a faster warm-up and workout recovery. Compression therapy has been hot in the health and fitness industry for decades. NormaTec compression boots have added a whole new level of sophistication, technology, and science to the age-old compression wear products typically found on the market. Read on to learn more. 

What is NormaTec?

Okay, so far, we know that NormaTec boots look like something that an astronaut would wear and that they are some sort of fancy shmancy compression device. But, what makes them different from a brace or even an Ace Bandage? The answer is a whole lot of technology. But don’t worry, you don’t need to purchase an in-home device to enjoy the many benefits of NormaTec. Treatment sessions are now available at many health groups nationwide, including our own! If you are located in the Boston area, book now.

You are probably wondering, “What does NormaTec do?” The technology we are referring to is compressed air on the interior of the boots. They can be programmed to perform pulse massage patterns up and down your legs, increasing blood flow, improving athletic performance, speeding up recovery after training, and relieving pain. Can your Ace Bandage do that? …We didn’t think so.

Who is NormaTec for?

NormaTec is for anyone who has legs and uses them. Seriously! While this kind of treatment will likely appeal mostly to athletes and those who are physically active, the benefit of NormaTec compression doesn’t end there. Anyone who experiences soreness from working on their feet or standing all day, or anyone prone to inflammation, can find relief in NormaTec recovery. If you work in a production or packaging warehouse, you know what we are talking about. If you work in a restaurant or hospital, running from table to table, patient to patient, you know what we are talking about. If you suffer from lymphedema (AKA chronic swelling), then you definitely know what we are talking about! Luckily, there is a solution.

How does NormaTec Work, and What Are the Benefits?

Sometimes, soreness is the result of the overuse of a muscle or joint. (This is typical in athletes.) Other times, the culprit of pain or fatigue is lactic acid. If we use running as an example, the faster you run, the more lactic acid your body produces and consumes. When you hit your maximum speed or maintain a high speed for too long, your body will produce more lactic acid than it can consume (or “clear”) from your bloodstream. 

In layman’s terms, the acid more or less builds up and gets stuck. This will prevent your muscles from being able to contract fully. When that happens, your mobility is compromised, and you aren’t going to be running anywhere. This affects your speed and your overall performance. When left as is, that build-up of lactic acid will leave you feeling very sore until your body can naturally flush it out. NormaTec treatments will speed up the lactate clearance process, reducing soreness, improving range of motion, and allowing your muscles to, once again, be able to contract fully.

NormaTec can also lower Oxidative Stress. If you aren’t aware, Oxidative Stress occurs when your body has an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. Free radicals can enter your system from external sources (such as environmental sources, like pollution or radiation). Sometimes they are created internally, either during normal metabolic processes or temporarily during natural immune responses. (In the latter scenario, this usually manifests in inflammation while your body is fighting an illness or infection.) 

Cells in your body naturally produce some of the necessary antioxidants to fight the free radicals in your system. Your diet can also aid in adding antioxidants (and, who doesn’t love blueberries?) If you are not watching what you eat, staying active, or if you are a victim of environmental factors, your balance can quickly get out of whack. Oxidative Stress can contribute to faster aging and many other health complications. Given that the entire West coast has basically been on fire for the past several weeks, creating terrible air quality nationwide (Hello, free radicals. Please be gone now!), we know that some of you really understand what Oxidative Stress feels like. Luckily, another awesome benefit of NormaTec is that it lowers your Oxidative Stress levels.

Another benefit of treatments is an increased level of RPS-6, which is an essential protein for rebuilding and repairing muscles. When you exercise, the fibers in your muscles tear. Your body rebuilds them, and they come back stronger. With added levels of RPS-6, this process can occur much faster. The treatments also increase eNOS, which is a precursor to Nitric oxide. Among other beneficial cell processes, Nitric oxide widens blood vessels (this is known as vasodilation), increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This greatly enhances athletic performance. 

NormaTec Compression Therapy also increases peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator (okay, now say it really fast, five times in a row!) Only joking; it is shortened to PGC1alpha. This plays a key role in regulating cellular energy metabolism, as it participates in the regulation and metabolization of both carbohydrates and lipids. As your PGC1alpha levels rise, you will experience an increase in energy (and, therefore, stronger athletic performance). Users will also experience a thermography impact on the treated and contralateral limb. This is an indicator of improved systematic circulation.

So, what do you say? Is it time to ditch the compression braces and Ace Bandages? Those devices temporarily prevent blood from flowing to a particular area. When they are removed, the blood rushes back to that area, which provides a momentary sensation of relief. With NormaTec boots, the manipulation of blood flow and stimulated response is constant and calculated. The benefits are much greater and longer-lasting.


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September 18, 2020 Fitness

Halloween is next month, and you have spent all of September perfecting every detail of your costume. You will scare the world, dressed as Linda Blair in the acclaimed horror movie, The Exorcist. Before you can truly claim your fame as best dressed at the costume party, you better be able to walk down an entire flight of stairs in a backbend. Right? Weird flex, but okay. (See what we did there?) We will explain the difference between active and passive flexibility, why they are important, and give you some of our favorite flexibility exercises. Read on to learn our tips to improve flexibility.

To learn how to become more flexible, you must first start at the beginning. If you don’t go about flexibility exercises properly, you have a great propensity to get injured. So, on to lesson numero uno: What is flexibility? While you may automatically picture a gymnast or contortionist doing some crazy splits, mid-air, or pulling one leg six inches behind their head, that is not the definition.

Ordinary people, of all body types, have at least some level of flexibility. The definition of flexibility is the range of motion that is available to a joint. That being said, even a total couch potato could make a claim to flexibility fame if they can spread their toes wide apart from one another, or if they are double-jointed and can lift their pinky further back than ninety degrees. (Freaky, right??) Even if a range of motion is not initiated by an individual (for example, if someone moves your pinky back for you), it still counts as a range of motion to that joint.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty about how you can limber up your backbend, steal the show, AND win first prize for best dressed (and, of course, freak all of your friends out at the party), we need to make sure you fully understand the difference between active and passive flexibility. The reason why these are important is because the greater the difference between a joint’s active and passive flexibility, the greater the likelihood of that joint getting injured while traveling between the full range of motion.

PASSIVE FLEXIBILITY 

Passive flexibility is when the muscles that move your joints are held in place by an external force. This is typically another body part (such as your hand). For example, rest one hand flat on a table. Let it be completely limp. Using the other hand, pull your index finger back toward your forearm. (Don’t pull too hard. This is just a demonstration. There is no need for any pain.) Your index finger has moved away from the table passively. Other than the help from your opposite hand, your finger would be completely limp. This is an example of passive flexibility.

ACTIVE FLEXIBILITY

Active flexibility is when the muscles that move your joints are responsible for the joint moving, without the help of anything external. So, now place the same hand flat on the table. Without using the other hand at all, lift your index finger off of the table as far as you can. This is an example of active flexibility. The greater the difference between where your index finger was with help, and where it was without help, the greater the chance that your finger will be injured when in motion. This concept can be applied to any joint in your body. This is why it is essential to practice improving your active range of flexibility (AKA mobility). The more you can decrease the gap between active and passive flexibility, the safer you will be when engaging in any physical activity (or even just walking, sitting, and standing).

TIPS TO IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY

1. Be consistent.

While there are millions of different stretches to improve flexibility, the most important thing you can do is commit to being consistent. Like most body/mind feats, the journey to mobility is not one that can happen overnight. It takes a near-daily practice of strengthening and conditioning your muscles. Even thirty minutes per day can yield excellent results.

2. Warm up the right way.

Gone are the days of holding a stretch pose for minutes on end (AKA static stretching) to start your workout, activity, or training session. The right way (and we say, “right,” because it is most effective and the safest way) to warm up is by way of dynamic movement. Before you even think about dropping into a pose that may strain (or tear) your muscle, first get your blood pumping. A great first step to anything physical is to do at least 10-15 minutes of cardio. Jumping jacks, jumping in place, burpees, or even dancing really hard are great ways to raise your heart rate. This will increase blood flow to your major muscle groups, not only helping to prevent injury but ensuring that you will get more out of stretching.

If you are interested in Assisted Stretch service, click here.

3. Incorporate a short bit of static stretching. 

Once you are warm from the dynamic cardio workout, it is safe to go ahead and begin stretching. You may passively hold poses in positions that are available to you. Yoga straps and blocks are great tools to use when your limbs and extremities are out of reach. When practicing static stretches, it is of the utmost importance to maintain proper alignment. You will get more out of a stretch if you are aligned than you will by pushing yourself beyond what is available to you while your form is out of whack.

If you are interested in Yoga Physical Therapy, click here.

4. Focus more on dynamic stretching. 

Rather than sitting in one position, try instead to move slowly (back and forth) from one position to another, exercising your full range of motion. For example, begin in half pike position with one leg outstretched in front of you and your weight on the opposite knee, shift your weight forward, and bend the front knee into a lunge. Slowly move back and forth between these two positions. (Tip: If your front knee is passing your front foot in the lunge position, make the space between your legs greater to protect your knee joint.) Experiment with the active versus passive flexibility exercise from earlier. Seated on the floor, with your legs in as much of a straddle as is available to you, try lifting one leg off the ground with your hand or a yoga strap. Now put the strap down and try lifting the same leg with only the muscles in that leg. The more you can strengthen the muscles needed for active flexibility, the better your flexibility will be overall.


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September 11, 2020 CancerHealth & Wellness

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. To increase awareness and spread potentially life-saving information, we are going to explain some of the main causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment options for men with Prostate Cancer. Remember that the survival rate for Prostate Cancer is extremely high and that most men who contract it will not die from it. The most important thing to do is to educate yourself and/or the men in your family. Awareness is key! Although it can be scary to undergo screening or to even speak with your doctor about the potential risk of having Prostate Cancer, early detection and treatment have a much more favorable outcome than allowing cancer to progress. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Prostate Cancer is the second most common form of cancer among men in the United States. It is second only to non-melanoma skin cancer and is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide. While it may seem surprising that there are more cases of Prostate Cancer in developed countries, risk factors for the disease include overall health, diet, weight, and exercise. Considering the rate of obesity, the mass consumption of fast food and junk food, and the sedentary lifestyle primarily found in the first world, perhaps the prevalence of Prostate Cancer here isn’t so surprising after all. Genetics also have a heavy hand in determining a person’s potential risk. Studies have shown that men of African descent (in the Americas, the Caribbean, and in Europe) possess a genetic disposition that makes them more prone to both developing prostate cancer, and also at a younger age than men of other races.

What is the Cause of Prostate Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, “Prostate Cancer is caused by changes in the DNA of a normal prostate cell.” It can be caused by DNA mutations or other changes that can lead to the overgrowth of cells. These changes, or mutations, can be inherited from generation to generation (which causes hereditary cancer), or they can be acquired throughout a man’s lifetime. While certain risk factors, such as age, race, and genetics cannot be controlled or mitigated, there are things that you can do to lower your risk.

In studies conducted by the American Cancer Society, obese and overweight men were found to be at more risk of developing prostate cancer. They are also more prone to develop advanced prostate cancer which patients are less likely to survive. In order to mitigate this risk factor, men are advised to both maintain an adequate amount of physical activity, and to adhere to a healthy diet. Several studies have also linked a higher risk of prostate cancer with over-consumption of dairy products and calcium. It is important to eat a balanced diet, full of nutrient-dense foods, and dietary fiber. Avoid consuming sugars, processed foods, and “empty” calories.

Related:
How to Help the Senior in Your Life Make Healthy Food Choices

Signs & Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Perhaps the scariest thing about Prostate Cancer is that more often than not, it can go completely undetected without a formal screening by a medical professional. For that reason, it is important to talk with your doctor about when and how often you need to be screened. That being said, in the rare cases where symptoms are apparent, they may resemble those of a urinary tract infection (UTI).

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, they may include the following:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night, and sometimes urgently
  • Difficulty starting or holding back urination
  • Weak, dribbling, or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty having an erection
  • A decrease in the amount of fluid ejaculated
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Pressure or pain in the rectum
  • Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs.

If you or any of the men in your family are experiencing these symptoms, be sure to speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment of Prostate Cancer can save lives.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

You may be wondering what treatment options are available and what they entail. The treatment and prognosis (AKA, chance of recovery) are dependent upon a few factors. The first determining factor is what stage of cancer the patient is in. Early stages are obviously much easier to treat and eradicate from the body. In cases where the cancerous cells have vastly multiplied and spread to other parts of the body (by way of tissue, the lymph system, or blood), treatment becomes more intense or may not even be possible. Treatment options will also depend on the age of the patient and whether the cancer is a new diagnosis or is recurring. It may be more difficult to treat Prostate Cancer for a second or third time.

The main treatments for Prostate Cancer include surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy or radiopharmaceutical therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or bisphosphonate therapy. The proper mode of treatment will be determined by a healthcare professional and will depend on the patient’s specific set of circumstances. Clinical trials for new treatments are underway. They include cryosurgery, high-intensity-focused ultrasound therapy, proton beam radiation therapy, and photodynamic therapy. Many of the available treatments may cause side effects. It is important to ask your doctor about any potential complications.

Remember, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. There is a very high survival rate (nearly 100% of 5-year Localized and Regional cases). All SEER stages combined boast a promising 98% survival rate. The most important things you can do to mitigate your risk are to ask your doctor for regular screenings and to maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan. The sooner Prostate Cancer is detected, the greater the chances are of survival.


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According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), chronic pain affects approximately 50 million U.S. adults. High-impact chronic pain (i.e., interfering with work or life most days or every day) affects about 20 million U.S. adults. The management of these symptoms may involve medications. However, there are several alternative and holistic methods available to treat chronic back pain and other ailments. With September being Pain Awareness Month, we will discuss some of the ways you can manage such pain. 

In the western world, pain management often involves taking pharmaceuticals, which may be a slippery slope, even when prescribed by a doctor. As a nation, we are facing an opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 2.1 million U.S adults are addicted to prescription pain medication. An additional 467,000 are addicted to heroin. While opiate-based pharmaceuticals may offer temporary relief from chronic pain, the repercussions involved with addiction are likely to be far worse than the pain they were intended to treat. Luckily, alternative methods and healing arts can be instrumental in treating pain and enriching your life and health.

Physical Therapy

Chronic pain can be a severe interruption to your day-to-day life, activities, and even your career. But, what is classified as chronic pain? In the medical field, it is any pain that has been present for more than 12 consecutive weeks. A physical therapist is trained to evaluate your range of motion and capacity for mobility.

Related:
The Benefits of Physical Therapy

Once you have been evaluated, your therapist will treat you with a customized care plan tailored to your specific needs. They will help you regain mobility and work with you to relieve the pain you are experiencing. Treatments could involve mobility exercises, hot or cold compresses, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), or even ultrasound technology. Physical Therapy can help people experiencing pain in areas such as the back, neck, knees, shoulders, hips, and wrists.

Click here if you are in need of Physical Therapy services.

Exercise

Another way to help prevent pain or to treat existing pain is to exercise. Yoga is a fantastic way to heal your body from the inside out. Many types of Yoga, such as Yoga Nidra and Hatha Yoga are very low-impact and are restorative, relaxing, and have a strong focus on breathing and meditation.

Connecting your mind and body can be a powerful way to release pain and work through physical and emotional trauma. When you breathe heavily, you increase blood flow and oxygen levels within your entire body. This can be extremely beneficial to areas where you are experiencing pain. Regular stretching and movement can also increase your flexibility and overall mobility.

Related:
Yoga Physical Therapy: Healing From Within

If Yoga isn’t appealing to you, any form of exercise is beneficial. Swimming is low-impact for joints and can be incredibly healing. Even adding walking into your daily routine can help get your blood and oxygen levels pumping. Whenever possible, aim to walk or ride your bicycle instead of driving.

Click here if you are in need of Yoga Physical Therapy services.

Healing Arts

While often available in a spa setting, healing arts are not only for people on vacation or on #selfcaresundays kicks. Healing arts such as massage, acupuncture, Chiropractic adjustments, and Reiki, have tangible and measurable impacts.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recognized that massage therapy has been demonstrated to alleviate chronic pain symptoms. Harvard Medical School acknowledges massage as a legitimate therapy for some painful conditions. Therapeutic massage may relieve pain by relaxing muscles, tendons, and joints. Their publication explains that, “It can also relieve stress and anxiety, helping to, ‘close the pain gate,’ by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.’

Speaking of stimulating nerves, acupuncture works specifically with the nervous system. Practitioners utilize very small needles, heat, and pressure on the skin to stimulate responses. Trigger points are accessed with the small needles, causing a release of chemicals into the spinal cord. The chemicals are similar to those found in opiates and pharmaceuticals that are used to treat pain (such as hydrocodone or morphine), but they are naturally occurring in the body and therefore don’t pose the threat of addiction.

Acupuncturists may also stimulate the release of neurotransmitters (AKA hormones) that regulate nerve endings. In other words, an acupuncturist may be able to actually “shut off” the sensation of pain by stimulating certain trigger points within your body.

Chiropractors work primarily with the skeletal system. They are trained to make adjustments to realign the spine and surrounding muscles. If your job is sedentary, your back and neck may fall easily out of alignment from sitting for hours each day. Conversely, if you are extremely physically active, your spine may also be pushed out of proper alignment. Many women experience a spinal misalignment after giving birth. The coccyx can be pushed out of place when delivering a baby, which may lead to chronic sciatic and lower back pain if left untreated. A chiropractor can be extremely helpful in pushing the coccyx (AKA the tailbone) back into place. This can often lead to an immediate sense of relief.

While Reiki healing may sound a bit more on the esoteric side, it is a practice with an ancient lineage that originated in Japan thousands of years ago. The most current form of Reiki was officially developed in the 1920s by a Japanese Buddhist. The healing practice involves a practitioner holding his or her hands above an effected area and transferring healing energy to the patient. Reiki is based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient through touch, activating the natural healing processes of the patient’s body, and restoring physical and emotional well-being. The root of the practice is the ability to tap into a universal current of Chi (or energy) and transfer it to stimulate flow and release. Much like how Yoga asanas help someone release or shift the flow of blocked energy through movement, Reiki accomplishes the same thing by way of touch. The result of either practice is the relief from trauma or pain.

 


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August 29, 2020 Functional Therapies

Scientifically proven, FDA-cleared, and award-winning Celluma is the choice of many pain management professionals worldwide. Chiropractors, acupuncturists, and wellness practitioners value this non-attended modality to easily and effectively treat a variety of pain, muscle, and joint conditions anywhere on the body. Celluma is also effective in treating and preventing acne and is a non-invasive and potent device for use in anti-aging efforts.

Okay, that sounds great, but what is Celluma LED light therapy?

Celluma therapy utilizes high-intensity light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to trigger a bio-stimulatory effect in human tissue. Particles of light (AKA photons) may be absorbed in the mitochondria and cell membranes and transformed into a form of energy known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The elevation of ATP is then used to power metabolic processes; synthesize DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, and other products needed to repair or regenerate cell components; foster mitosis or cell proliferation; and restore homeostasis.

If those were a lot of new vocabulary words, in Layman’s Terms, you can think of it as a battery charger for compromised cells. You can essentially give those cells a boost and encourage them to get back to work. The effects depend on the types of light used, and some types of light are recommended for multiple indications.

Celluma Light Therapy

There are six types of cells that are affected by LED therapy. Fibroblast cells, which produce collagen and elastin fibers in connective tissue, can be improved with mostly red and a small amount of infrared light. Keratinocytes provide structural integrity to skin, hair, and nails. They are also responsible for skin clarity, tone, and texture. Celluma LED Light Therapy will activate these cells with both red and infrared light.

Mast cells are essential for inflammatory reactions and can be treated with both red and infrared light. Similarly, Neutrophil cells (leukocytes) are the body’s first line of defense in the inflammatory process. Adequate numbers are important to protect the body from infection. Both of these cell types can be treated by Celluma Light Therapy with red and infrared LEDs. Macrophage cells (also leukocytes) play a vital role in activating specific immune responses. These, too, will be activated and charged with red and infrared LED light therapy treatments.

The range of indications that Celluma can be used to treat is vast. Given that the device is portable, comes in several models and sizes, and completely non-invasive to the user, it makes it quite an appealing alternative to many options on the market. It is flexible and versatile and can be applied to any part of the body or focused specifically on the face. Read on to learn more about how Celluma LED light therapy can change your life.

Helps Reduce and Clear Acne

Celluma has been cleared by the FDA to treat inflammatory acne vulgaris, which is caused by pores that are deeply clogged with bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil. Treatments involve the utilization of blue LEDs, which have been shown to diminish bacteria. This helps to clear existing breakouts and restore the skin’s healthy appearance. With the equal use of some red and infrared LEDs, keratinocyte cells can be stimulated to improve skin clarity, tone, and texture.

Anti-aging

Say goodbye to expensive creams that don’t work, plastering your face with silicone strips before bed every night, and Botox injections. With Celluma’s red LED treatments, patients will enjoy the benefits of increased collagen production, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. With the stimulation of fibroblast cells, elasticity may be restored and the crepe-like appearance that comes with age will begin to tighten. Skin in the treated area will be noticeably smoother and more firm with repetitive treatments. Smile lines and crow’s feet are also treatable with Celluma LED Light Therapy.

Reduce Muscle and Joint Pain

Aging elders and athletes alike will enjoy the benefits of red and infrared Celluma treatments. These treatments have been approved by the FDA for multiple indications including arthritis, muscle spasms, muscle, and joint pain, muscle tissue tension, joint and muscle stiffness, and diminished local circulation.

Pain relief doesn’t stop with athletes or the elderly. Veterinarians have begun using Celluma as a post-operative treatment to speed up the recovery time in animals. With the use of red and infrared LEDs, the Mast and Neutrophil cells are stimulated, which will improve the body’s reaction to inflammation and fortify protection from harmful bacteria and infection.

If you are curious about what a treatment may be like, the answer is that it may vary, depending on your indication and budget. All treatments are 30 minutes long. They are completely painless, require zero recovery time, and are suitable for any skin type. The treatments involve the use of a flexible panel that can be wrapped or secured to target specific areas of the body. Many users find the treatment sessions to be comfortable and relaxing. Most indications involve the use of Celluma Light Therapy 2 or 3 times per week for 4 weeks.

The effects are cumulative. So, consider Celluma to be sort of like going to the gym, adhering to a diet, or taking vitamins. It is a commitment. In order to see results, you will have to complete the entire prescribed course. But hey, your wrinkles didn’t show up overnight, so you can’t really expect them to magically disappear after a single 30-minute treatment, right? With regular maintenance, you can adopt a self-care regimen that can preserve, protect, and regenerate your cells

Also, consider that preventative care may go a long way later in life. Think of your skin as a sheet of paper. When you crumple it up into a ball, sure, there are ways to un-crumple and flatten it out. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, some of those lines will always be visible. So, if you begin treatments before wrinkles begin to emerge, it is sort of like preventing the sheet of paper from ever getting balled up, to begin with. Prevention is easier than damage control, but both can have amazing results.

You may be wondering…

Does Celluma actually work?

We will leave you with the following statement from a collaborative study conducted by researchers at Boston’s Mass General Hospital, the Harvard School of Medicine and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health & Sciences in 2012:

“The day may not be far off when most homes will have a light source (most like a LED device) to be used for aches, pains, cuts, bruises, joints, and which can also be applied to the hair and even transcranially to the brain.”


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August 22, 2020 Health & Wellness

Just like every other organ in the body, the brain grows, develops, and declines with every stage of human life. The brain is easily the most complex organ in the body, as it functions as the control center, the memory, and the ultimate epicenter and perceiver of the entire human experience. When brain functionality is compromised for any reason, including disease, old age, or injury, every facet of life may become more challenging. Those who experience compromised brain health may experience memory loss, anxiety, and changes in mood or typical behavior. Day-to-day tasks, such as eating, driving, and bathing may become difficult or impossible for one to manage on their own. Luckily, there are preventative and restorative exercises for brain health that can be done to maintain optimal condition.

According to the American Heart Association, a whopping 3 out of 5 adults will develop a brain disease in their lifetime. Many factors may contribute to optimal brain health and performance, including eating a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet and getting ample sleep each night. Additionally, staying in good physical shape and actively engaging parts of the brain with mental exercises (AKA neurobic exercises) can improve cognitive function and help to ensure the longevity of this major organ. If you would like to learn more about the best exercises for brain health, read on for our top five recommendations.

5 Best Exercises for Brain Health

1. AEROBIC EXERCISES

Cardio and aerobic exercises are some of the best exercises for brain health. Getting your blood and lungs pumping can truly be a game-changer for your entire body, and your “command center” is no exception. If you are wondering what exactly does aerobic exercise do for the brain? The answer (according to an article published by Harvard Medical School), is that increased blood flow can boost the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning.

Resistance training, balance, and muscle toning were not shown to have the same effect. So, anything that increases your heart rate is also going to help your brain stay healthy. Going for walks, jogging, HIIT training, and swimming are all great ways to promote brain health. Engaging in cardio-centric activities can also help with clearing, “brain fog.” These exercises will help you think more clearly and quickly.

2. DRAW A MAP FROM MEMORY

In addition to physical exercise, there are brain-specific neurobic exercises that can help strengthen and preserve memory and cognitive function. One of these activities is to draw a map of your town from memory. Don’t cheat by looking at a map or cell phone app. Include your house, any major landmarks, streets, intersections, or places you frequent. Try to be as specific and detailed as you possibly can. When you are finished, compare it with a store-bought or digital map.

You will likely be surprised by seemingly obvious features you may have missed. Anything that exercises your memory-recall functionality can actually improve your overall memory function. As an added bonus, use your non-dominant hand to draw the map. Skip down to number four on this list to learn why.

3. LEARN A NEW SKILL

Learning something new, such as an instrument, a sport, or a foreign language definitely takes commitment and discipline. The reward, however, transcends the knowledge of simply knowing a new skill. By actively engaging in challenging new patterns and routines, you are creating brand new connections between parts of your brain.

Think of your brain as a city full of rivers and valleys. By repeating new patterns, you are building bridges. Once the bridges are in place, you can travel throughout the city with far more efficiency than you could before. Learning new things is, by far, one of the best exercises for brain health.

4. USE YOUR NON-DOMINANT HAND

Similar to drawing a map from memory, completing tasks with your non-dominant hand (such as eating or writing) can be a powerful neurobic exercise. In training your “opposite” side to do what is otherwise familiar, you are actually changing the relationship between the right and left hemispheres of your brain. You are intentionally building another “bridge.”

Ambidexterity can certainly be learned. If you primarily work from a desktop computer, consider switching your mousepad back and forth to either side once in a while. If you are an athlete, consider switching which hand you pitch with, which leg you kick with, or which side you hold your golf club. Writing is another way to train your non-dominant side. An added bonus to learning ambidexterity is that in case of an injury on your dominant hand, you will have a back-up solution ready to roll.

“Put me in, coach!”

5. MEDITATION

Who would’ve thought that intentionally silencing the mind can actually strengthen the power of the brain? It doesn’t seem likely, but mindfulness meditation has a myriad of benefits, including brain cell regeneration. According to a study conducted by Harvard, engaging the body’s relaxation response (even just a single time) can reduce the body’s response to inflammation and strengthen DNA stability.

In addition to the direct correlation with brain functionality, meditation often also involves breathing exercises. As discussed earlier, anything cardio-related helps to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This improves cognitive function and longevity. The benefits of meditation are actually far greater than those of sleep. If you have to choose between the two, an hour of mindful visualization and breathing will have a greater impact on your overall health than an hour of sleep.

Related:
Yoga Physical Therapy: Healing from Within

Similar to any major organ in the body, exercising, preserving, and protecting the brain is extremely important. When the brain begins to decline, day-to-day life may become increasingly more challenging for an individual and anyone around them. In addition to ample exercise, be sure to get enough sleep each night and eat a well-balanced diet. The habitual consumption of supplements may also help to increase brain health. Consider adding fish oil, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and vitamin D to a nutrient-dense diet.

Related:
How to Help the Senior in Your Life Make Healthy Food Choices


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Senior citizens are often stuck at home for several days on end. When they have outlived their spouses, or don’t have family nearby, they are more prone to becoming bored and depressed. Luckily, there are a number of senior activities that can help them stay active and engaged.  

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), physical activity is vital for healthy aging and can reduce the risk of premature death. Adults 50 and older are especially at risk for chronic diseases, and physical activity is helpful in the prevention of these. In order to maintain their mental health, activities for seniors should also stimulate their brain, engage their creativity, and activate their problem-solving skills. Anything that fosters a sense of community is especially beneficial for maintaining their quality of life. If you are wondering what activities are good for seniors, read on for our top ten list.

1. SWIMMING

Water-based exercise can decrease the risk of chronic illness. It is also helpful for those who suffer from arthritis. Because movement in water naturally provides resistance, swimming and water aerobics are ideal cardio exercises for seniors. The weightless sensation in water makes these movements low-impact on joints, which is especially helpful for aging adults with chronic pain. Many community centers, senior activity centers, and YMCAs have indoor pools and offer senior programming.

2. SHOPPING

While shopping may seem like a chore to some, it is a great way to get seniors out of the house and in a more stimulating environment. With COVID-19 still present and considered a major risk for our more vulnerable population, indoor grocery stores may not be the ideal choice for a recreational shopping trip with your mom or dad. In this case, consider searching for and visiting outdoor flea markets, farmer’s markets, or craft fairs. Search the local newspaper for yard sales in your neighborhood as well.

Related:
COVID-19: Social Distancing Tips for State Re-Openings
Senior Isolation During the Coronavirus Pandemic

3. SCENIC DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

Sometimes all it takes to combat boredom and isolation for an elder is to change up the scenery. When limited mobility is an issue, consider taking them for a scenic drive or road trip. If you live in an area where the leaves change color in the fall, they will enjoy driving through nature to see the beauty. If you are in the Boston area, consider taking them on a day trip to drive up to the top of Mount Greylock. It is the highest point in the state, and the summit is accessible by car. The views from the top are incredible and they can enjoy fresh, clean, Berkshire air.

4.CHAIR YOGA

If you aren’t quite sure how to motivate seniors to participate in activities, consider setting them up with a chair yoga video at home. Since in-person classes are largely minimalized due to the pandemic, and many seniors are staying in whenever possible, they can easily enjoy this low-impact activity from the comfort of their own living room. There are many health benefits of practicing yoga. Contrary to popular belief, the student does not need to be at all flexible or athletic. Much of this ancient practice is done through breathing and meditation, making it accessible to older adults.

Related:
Yoga Physical Therapy: Healing From Within

5. GOLF

Golf can be a fun and exciting way to get your senior outside and with friends. They can walk from hole to hole or ride a golf cart if mobility is an issue. Sunshine and fresh air can do wonders for mental and physical health at any age but is especially important for seniors who may be stuck indoors for long periods of time. Golf is also a sport that can help exercise and refine gross motor skills, which naturally decline with age.

6. INDOOR GARDENING

Even when space is limited, seniors may enjoy the creation and caretaking of a small herb garden in their kitchen. It can be rewarding to nurture new life. Plus, who doesn’t love the flavor of fresh herbs in their cooking? Herb gardens can also be healing and aromatic in the home. Many herbs and small plants are easy to find, grow, and maintain.

7. COOKING

Once the herb garden has matured, seniors will enjoy cooking with their new, home-grown ingredients! This can be a fun and creative way to incorporate healthy life-preserving habits into their routine. If the seniors in your life don’t know about Pinterest, this can be a phenomenal resource for finding unique and exciting recipes. It may also be a great gateway to introduce unfamiliar technology.

Related:
Get Tech Savvy: 3 Best Apps for Seniors

8. SCRAPBOOKING

Scrapbooking is one of the best craft activities for seniors. Nostalgia is common for the elderly population. Compiling old memories, photographs, and keepsakes into beautifully curated pages may bring joy to those who spend a lot of time alone, indoors, or sedentary.

9. KNITTING OR CROCHETING

Knitting and crocheting are also some of the best craft activities for seniors. Patterns can be as simple, free-form, or as complex as they would like. Creating something beautiful and functional from a single strand of yarn will likely feel rewarding. There is nothing more comforting or sentimental than a hand-made blanket from someone you care about. By requesting that they make these items for you and other members of your family, you are likely to give your elders a sense of purpose.

10. VISITING THE LIBRARY

Our final activity is to bring your mom or dad to the library. A membership card is free and will give them access to thousands of books, articles, and in some cases public computers with internet and collections of DVDs and videos for rent. If they aren’t gung-ho about social media or reading the news online, they may enjoy a low-key outing to the public library. There they can potentially join book clubs and connect with other seniors with common interests.


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When assessing pain, trauma, or injuries, Yoga Therapists are trained to ask a very different set of questions from any other kind of medical or wellness professional. This is because Yoga practitioners are trained to understand the connectedness between the mental, physical, and spiritual centers of a human being. Unlike standard Physical Therapy, a Yoga Therapist may find that an external physical ailment is actually caused by an internal energetic blockage or illness, due to their holistic approach in treating an injury. If this sounds too esoteric or far from your comfort zone, we urge you to keep an open mind. Yoga can change your life.

An Overview of Yoga Physical Therapy

According to Yogic philosophy, every single experience you have ever had is retained and imprinted within the fibers and tissues of your physicality. From a holistic standpoint, you are essentially a vessel, and energy travels through various paths within your body. The way in which it flows can be manipulated by how you move, how you breathe, and how you think. Yoga originated in India and many Eastern religions have a similar understanding of energy as the life force or vitality of a human being. In Chinese, the word for this is, “Chi.” In Japanese, it is “Ki.” In India (and in the Yoga discipline), the word is “Prana.” (“Prana” is also the word for breath, which in Yoga, is inherently linked to your life force.)

When the energy (or Prana) that is meant to flow freely through your vessel gets stuck, it manifests in physical ailments of the body. So, for example, in Western medicine, and in standard Physical Therapy, when someone has an injured hip, physiotherapy will likely involve targeting the muscles around the hip joint and mobilizing the joint itself. A doctor may prescribe pain medication or a steroid to combat inflammation. When a Yoga Therapist treats a hip injury, he or she will not only aim to mobilize the injured area with yoga poses (known as Asanas), but will also incorporate breathing and meditation exercises that target the hip and the second or Sacral Chakra. This is the home of one’s emotional self, sensuality, sexual relationships, and creativity.

Understanding the Chakras

A major difference in approach between Yoga and Physical Therapy is that a Yoga Therapist will likely treat a physical injury with sequential poses that target specific Chakras. Here is a fun fact: the word is pronounced “chah-krah,” not, “shah-krah,” as you will often hear in the Western world. “Shah-krah” actually translates to, “cucumber,” which would sound very silly in this sort of context. Imagine if your therapist came in and told you that today you would be doing a series of poses to treat your hip cucumber. Not exactly what you had in mind, right?

There are seven chakras within the human body. They are centers of energetic vibration, which cannot be shown anatomically but are aligned from the base of the spine through the crown of the head. When a Yoga Therapist moves a client through an Asana practice, they are helping that person to access and heal these pivotal centers, which are directly connected to the emotional and spiritual parts of their being. By intentionally breathing into and visualizing the release of these parts of ourselves, we are able to heal holistically, from an internal and universal space.

A Yoga Therapist will almost always say that for any physical ailment that a client may have, there is far more to the story. The story could be as direct and obvious as physical abuse or trauma. It could also be as esoteric as a car accident-related injury. In the latter case, the Yoga Therapist may conclude that the client got into an accident because he or she was rushing and has taken on too much. The remedy for the physical ailment may, therefore, involve releasing and healing energy in the solar plexus Chakra, which is where the ego lives and where we hold on to how we are perceived by others, especially in our careers and professions.

Make no mistake, however. Yoga Therapists are highly knowledgeable in anatomy and physiology. To even obtain the most basic yoga certification, one must undergo 200 hours of training and education. Typically, at least 50% of that is rooted in anatomy. Depending on the school or program, it could be much more. Yogis must have a comprehensive understanding of anatomy, injury prevention, and modifications for various medical indications (including but not limited to pregnancy).

The Health Benefits of Yoga

According to the CDC, yoga and meditation can help manage stress and can improve your memory. It also has many physical benefits, such as strengthening and toning of the muscles and improved flexibility. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are several other reasons to practice yoga, such as relief of menopause symptoms, management of anxiety disorders, clinical depression, or PTSD, and even weight loss.

Related:
The Benefits of Physical Therapy

While it may appear at first glance to mostly attract women, yoga was actually created by ancient Indian men. In fact, many of the poses (or Asanas) have been slightly adapted by Westerners to better suit the female body, given that the centers of gravity differ between genders. The benefits of yoga for men are plentiful. In addition to the aforementioned advantages, men may enjoy improved overall sexual function from a regular practice. Those who suffer from premature ejaculation (PE) may find that they have better control when adopting a consistent and habitual yoga routine into their lives.

The Western world is extremely plagued by a disconnect between body, mind, and spirit. When we ignore any of those major parts of ourselves, we become ill or injured. Yoga is a powerful practice and tool to unite the planes of human existence. The word yoga literally translates to “to join,” or “to unite.”

If you have never tried yoga because you have preconceived notions that it is just for flexible people, or only upper-middle-class housewives do it, or it is all too “woo woo crunchy granola,” think again. Yoga is for everybody and every body. It can be life-altering in the most positive of ways. Namaste.


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July 30, 2020 Coronavirus

Prior to the pandemic, we may have taken social outings for granted. Going out to eat, seeing live music, enjoying a basketball game, or even hugging our friends were just typical weekend activities. After months of being on lockdown, we are all eager to get back to “normal.” With phased re-openings in most states, it is easy to want jump full-throttle back into the pre-pandemic life we knew. Not so fast! Just because we can doesn’t mean that we should. Numbers are still on the rise in a lot of places and caution is key.

According to the CDC, as of today (July 29, 2020), there are 4,339,997 cases of Coronavirus and 148, 866 deaths in the US. While we may have flattened the curve back in March, we have yet to find a solution to this global crisis. Perhaps an even bigger obstacle is that the lockdown has created an economic decline that will continue to dive deeper if we remain shuttered. As restaurants and businesses begin to reopen, it is important that we don’t lose sight of important safety precautions, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings. Read on for some tips on how to navigate these challenging times.

Social Distancing Tips for State Re-Openings

  1. Practice social distancing when gathering in groups outside of your household.

After months of complete and total lockdown, it can be tempting to open the floodgates entirely when given the chance. As states begin to re-open and gathering with others is becoming less taboo, it is still important to practice appropriate social distancing measures. If a meeting, gathering, or event simply cannot succeed in a virtual setting (i.e. on Zoom or another teleconferencing platform), the CDC recommends taking it outside, where attendees can be six feet apart. Be sure to wear your face covering and practice proper hygiene. Wash your hands often and avoid any communal food stations or offerings (i.e. buffet line, snack table, etc.). If you are drinking alcohol, be sure it doesn’t cloud your judgement or allow you to slack on safety measures and precautions.

  1. The early bird catches the… cleaner grocery store.

Now that states are re-opening and many people are beginning to return to work, some of our “normal” patterns and behaviors are resurfacing. For example, rush hour traffic is a thing again. (Who would’ve thought that rush hour – a semblance of “normalcy” – could be so missed?) Similarly, grocery stores are seeing crowds at peak times again.

Most people shop for food after work (so, after 5pm) or on weekends. Since it is important to maintain six feet of social distance from others, it is best to visit the store at non-peak times. Early weekday mornings are perfect. Most people are either working or sleeping. Plus, all of the cleaning and restocking happens overnight, so you will have a more hygienic experience with more food options. Win, win!

  1. Take the stairs whenever possible.

If you live in an urban setting, elevators are simply a fact of life. In these strange times, where the germs of others have basically been categorized as a biohazard, the last place you should choose to be is inside of a tiny moving room with nothing other than strangers and buttons that everyone else touches. Of course, things happen and sometimes you have no choice, but when you do, we recommend opting for the stairs. Not only do you have better chances of maintaining proper social distance and avoiding dirty buttons and surfaces, but you can also get a cardio workout in. Anything that improves your respiratory and cardiovascular health is a huge plus with the virus that we are all up against.

  1. Be socially distant, not socially isolated.

What is social distancing? It is maintaining six feet of space (or more) between yourself and anyone outside of your household. While this concept has been at the forefront of every news broadcast for the past five months, from a mental health standpoint, it is exceedingly important to remember what social distancing is not. For the sake of humanity, community, art, for the sake of so many important human things, putting physical space between bodies absolutely can not become synonymous with interrupting our connection to one another.

No matter what, make sure that your social distancing does not become social isolation. Meet up with friends outside. Join a sports league or fitness class that happens in a park. Go camping with your family or close friends. Just be sure to sleep in your own tent and be careful with sharing food and drinks. With a little bit of creativity, your social life can begin to revitalize a bit, especially during these warmer months. Safety does not have to happen in solitude.

  1. Take care of the seniors in your life.

As states are reopening and life is looking a bit more like it used to, it is exceedingly important to protect our vulnerable population. Even though the rules are relaxing, we still do not have a solution to the problem that is COVID-19. Hospitals and healthcare centers may be more prepared than they were in early March from our efforts to flatten the curve, but the fact remains that there is still no vaccine and for many who are sick or elderly, no cure for the novel Coronavirus.

If you live with senior family members or frequently interact with them, your lifestyle and choices can directly impact their health and well-being. If you share a household, it is imperative to put their needs ahead of your desire to socialize. If you find that you can’t always practice social distancing or hygiene, avoid close contact with those who are vulnerable for 14 days after an incident of potential exposure.

It is also important to remember that prior to the outbreak of this pandemic, isolation and depression were already greatly affecting our senior population. Make sure to call and check in on them. Offer to help with grocery runs and errands. Bring them books, movies, and activities to keep them engaged and active.

Related:
Get Tech Savvy: 3 Best Apps for Seniors

Do your best to limit contact with others. If you must be out of your house or are back to work, wash your hands frequently. Wear a face covering. Stay six feet away from others whenever possible. If you believe you have been exposed to someone with symptoms, quarantine yourself from your loved ones for 14 days. Try your hardest to avoid unnecessary risks. If you have to be out and about, make smart choices.


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