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Articles & Information - Original and Those by Others Found to be Informative

Products I Carry That I've Found to Be Effective at Boosting the Immune System/Fighting Flu & Other Illnesses

Oscillococcinum -  a homeopath that taken right as you notice you are coming down with something and then throughout your illness, it will often ward it off, reduce its severity and duration. 

Shaklee's +Immunity - contains Vitamin C, D, Zinc, Yeast Beta-Glucan, Reishi Mushroom extract, Ginseng Root extract, Elderberry Extract, Echinacea Extract, and Quercetin. And the berry flavor tastes great!

Shaklee's NutriFeron - It is the only dietary supplement in the U.S. created by the discoverer of interferon, Dr. Yasuhiko Kojima. This blend of herbs will naturally increase levels of interferon and stimulate natural killer T-cells.

Nature's Sunshine VSC - Chinese herbal formulation that creates an unfavorable environment for viruses. Originally formulated to combat the herpes virus. It still does, but they renamed it so it doesn't mention herpes as some folks found it offensive.

Nature's Sunshine Silver Shield - natural silver available in liquid or gel form. A powerful natural antibiotic. This is the only silver formulation that you cannot overdose on. Effective against antibiotic resistant staph infections (see Specific Conditions). Use the liquid internally, effective dropped up nasal passages to combat sinus infections! I did this after a ZPak failed to complete the mission! Swab the gel with Q-tip on nasal passages before going into crowded public places which may be full of germs. Use to sterilize hands instead of alcohol-based, drying hand disinfectants. Safe for use on animals too!

Garlic - supplement in diet using whole, sliced or crushed cloves or via supplementation capsules. A natural antibiotic, also anti-fungal. (see article later in this section which goes into detail on garlic's benefits)

Shaklee's Optiflora Probiotic Complex - restores the good bacteria in the intestine so often destroyed by antibiotic use. Triple-encapsulated so it is delivered to the proper places and not destroyed by stomach acids. Good health begins in the gut!

Fiber - take out the trash and quite possibly reduce your tummy girth by adding psyllium husk fiber to your juice once daily and add more fiber through diet. Do not take your vitamins/supplements with your fiber. Take vitamins/supplements with meals or snacks for best absorption.

Eucalyptus oil - diffuse essential oil in your house or office or a few drops in your bath, Eucalyptus oil has been found to boost the immune system by 20%. Antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial.\




Cinnamon Bark

Eucaluptus Radiata (Globulus will do)


Aromatherapy: More than a smell, it's medicine!

The sense of smell is one of the strongest in evoking memories. Smell can make an experience either pleasant or unpleasant. But did you know a smell can also be medicine? The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, said, the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day. He prescribed essential oils for health and the Roman and Greek bath houses were centers for not only cleanliness but healthy preventative maintenance as well.

Long before Hippocrates, essential oils had been used to embalm, disinfect, treat mental illness and heal. Moses was instructed to make an anointing oil of myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, cassia and olive oil. This combination would have been a powerful antiviral and antibiotic as well as antifungal. Myrrh stimulates cellular growth and had long been used to heal boils, ulcers and wounds. The Wise Men gave frankincense and myrrh to Mary when Jesus was born. Frankincense is beneficial for forms of respiratory illness and evokes a state of meditation. Myrrh also helps to relieve fear, stress and other nervous disorders and can increase the state of consciousness.

The skin is the body's largest organ and Hippocrates' statement identified two methods of absorption of essential oils-through a bath or through oils used in a massage. Another method is through inhalation.

Essential oils are the plant?s defense system and fuel. They are highly concentrated and should be diluted. They are non-invasive in the human body because plants and humans both contain amino acids, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. They are not stored in the body so they do not build up unlike many of the chemicals and medicines we use today.

When buying essential oils, the adage, "you get what you pay for," is absolutely true. Many plants and much work goes into the production of the oil. For instance, it takes 60.000 rose petals to produce one ounce of oil. Jasmine flowers much be handpicked on the first day of opening before the sun becomes hot. It takes 8 million blossoms to produce 2.2 pounds of oil. That is why it is one of the most expensive oils. Cheap jasmine oils are either diluted or copied chemically for the same smell though they wouldn't yield the same effect. The first press of an essential oil contains the most beneficial elements of the plant and is valued higher than subsequent draws from the distillation. The chemical properties of each oil are also influenced by the climate and soil where the plants grew.

Lavender is frequently requested in a massage. Not only is it well-known for its soothing and calming qualities, it also helps alleviate headaches, muscle aches, anxiety, depression, asthma and allergies. A drop of lavender on a harness can help quiet a nervous horse. A drop of lavender on the clothing can help Alzheimer's patients with sundowning. A drop of lavender on a bug bite can speed healing and take away pain and itch. Lavender applied to a burn will disinfect, relieve pain, and help heal a burn with less scarring.

Essential oil of oregano is 26 times more effective as an antiseptic than the phenol found in many commercial cleaners. During the Plagues of the 14th-16th centuries, those employed in occupations that used aromatic oils, such as glovemakers, survived.  

Essential oils are another path to health and balance and an alternative to the many chemicals and drugs that damage health when they purport to help. A good source of additional information on this topic which informed this article is, "The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy," by Valerie Ann Worwood, 0-931432-82-0.

Rebecca Arrick is owner and Indiana certified massage therapist at Healing Arts Center LLC, (formerly Massage by Becca), 515A Wallace Ave, Crawfordsville,

Nutrients that Boost Immunity

by Ronald Hoffman, M.D. CNS 

"Recently a national Conference on Nutrition and Immunity was convened in Atlanta, Georgia, bringing together top scientists in the fields of nutrition and immunology. The participants concluded that 'Because nutrition and other factors are critical to the establishment and maintenance of a healthy functional immune system the role of nutrition warrants closer scrutiny.'

Scientists now recognize the crucial role that nutrition plays in support immune function. Nutrition authorities have long acknowledged the importance of macronutrients--adequate intake of protein and calories in maintaining the body's defenses. Protein-calorie malnutrition, such as occurs with prolonged starvation, stringent self-imposed dieting as in anorexia, or in profound disease states such as cancer and AIDS, robs the body of its defensive capabilities, depleting white blood cells as well as crucial immune system proteins.

But the new frontier of nutrition research lies in the application of micronutrients--vitamins, minerals, and related cofactors--to immune support. Modulating the immune response with supplements has become a reality.

Vitamin A: The fat-soluble vitamin retinol is crucial for immune defense. Studies in Third-World countries have shown that the administration of Vitamin A to malnourished children confers protection against measles and reduces the death rate associated with this viral infrctyion. The administration of Vitamin A to cortisone-treated animals appears to abolish the immunosuppressive effects of cortisone. Vitamin A enhances white blood cell function, enhanes resistance to infection and carcinogens, and helps maintain skin and mucus membrane defenses to infection.

Carotenoids and beta-carotene: Besides being a precursor to Vitamin A, beta carotene has its own unique immune-stimulating properties that Vitamin A does not. Beta carotene is also a potent anti-oxidant, but there are over 600 other carotenoids found in nature. Many, like lycopene and zeanxanthin have potent cancer-preventing effects.

B vitamins: The B vitamins are often thought to work together in concert as a "B-complex". For example in AIDS, more rapid disease progression is seen in patients with deficiencies of the B Vitamins B6 and B12. B6 is particularly important for immune function. Deficiency of B6 is particularly common in teenage girls and young women who are prone to dieting and consumption of sugars and refined foods. It can lead to decreased white blood cell response and shrinkage of the critical immune system organ, the thymus.

B12 is also central to immune processes because it governs cell division and growth. Without adequate B12, white blood cells can't mature and multiply. Folic acid also plays a key role in immune system development and maintenance.

Vitamin C: Championed by Linus Pauling as an antiviral and anticancer nutrient, Vitamin C is an immune system booster par excellence. White blood cells use Vitamin C to combat infections, and in the face of inflammation or microbial challenge, levels of Vitamin C are depleted. Animals--with the exception of guinea pigs--have the ability to manufacture extra Vitamin C in their livers to replete their stores--but humans and their distant rodent relatives lack the crucial enqyme that synthesizes C. Thus, when confronted by stress, we need additional outside sources of C. How much C is enough? Recent studies show that tissue levels of C top out at around two or three grams per day of oral intake, but nutritionally-oriented physicians sometimes overcome this limitation by administering high intraveneous doses of C to patients with serious infections or cancer.

Vitamin E: Deficiency of this crucial immune booster is not uncommon. A survey of older Americans revealded that over 40 percent of elderly men and women had intakes of Vitamin E two-thirds below the RDA (which is a paltry 40 international units!). Statistics have shown a statistically significant reduction in infections in elderly volunteers with use of from 400 to 800 i.u. of Vitamin E deaily. Lab measurements of immune function were also decisively enhanced. It is worth of note that megadoses of Vitamin E may be immunosuppressive. This quality of E may be harnessed in autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus where overexuberant immune responses need to be restrained.

Chromium: Mostly thought of as a blood sugar regulatory mineral, recent research in animal models shows chromium can enhance the ability of white blood cells to respond to infection.

Copper: A fecent study shows that a diet deficient in copper affects the human immune system, reducing the activity of some cells that attack invading bacteria. Plans are underway to see if copper supplementation in non-copper-deficient individuals can further enhance immune function.

Iron: Like Vitamin E, the effect of iron on immunity is two-fold. Iron deficiency paralyzes the immune response. IIn fact, response to tetanus vaccines can be marginal in iron-deficient individuals. But don't try too hard to emulate Popeye; excell iron is deleterious to immunity. The immune system keeps invading microbes in check by depriving them of iron via a specific immune defense substance called lactoferrin, made in the intestine and found in mother's milk.

Manganese: Supplementation of manganese has been shown to enhance natural killer cell and macrophage activity.

Selenium: A clue to selenium's crucial role in immune system support is the fact that serum levels of this mineral are the single most important nutrient factor accounting for survival in patients with AIDS. Selenium also has been shown to protect humans from the heart-damaging effects of cytomegalovirus (CMV). Researchers now suspect that selenium deficiency may allow viruses to mutate into more dangerous pathogens. Selenium's role as a partner for the key antioxidant glutathione also helps explain its protective effects.

Zinc: Dr. Ranjit Chadra, one of the world's foremost authorities on the role of nutrition on immunity, has prioneered research on the essentiality of zinc for optimum defense. Numerous studies now prove supplemental zinc can restore flagging immunity. This may be the basis of the observed benefits of zinc lozenges for colds. As with iron and Vitamin E., more isn't necessarily better. Daily doses of 100 mg. or more of zinc may actually be immuno-suppressive.

Arginine: The amino acid l-arginine augments T-cell response and may be helpful in hastening surgical recovery, as well as in cancer and AIDS. But sometimes caution is warranted, because very high levels of arginine can compete with lysine, an amino acid which keeps certain viruses in check (notably herpes).

CoEnzyme Q10: This energy-enhancing nutrient may work to promote immunity by powering the cellular batteries of microbe-devouring macrophages.

Dimethyglycine (DMG): Research on this nutrient has centered on its ability to enhance the efficacy of vaccines which depend on optimal host immune response to take effect.

Phytonutrients: A wide variety of plant-derived substances have specific immune-augmenting capabilities. These include garlic, echinacea, arabinogalactan from larch tree bark, cat's claw, astragalus, maitake mushroom and yeast-derived beta 1, 3 DE-glucans.

Clearly, then, the way is open to a better understanding of how synergistic application of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and plant-derived factors can optimize immune function."

Unrefined Salt--How to Sea Your Way to Health

Natural sea salt contains 92 essential minerals, wheras refined adulterated table salt ( a byproduct of the chemical industry) contains only two elements, sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl). When cells suffer from a dietary deficiency of trace elements found in unrefined sea salt, they lose their ability to control their ions. This has dire consequences on the human body. Even if ion equilbrium i s lost for just one minute, cells in the body begin to burst. This can lead to nervous disorders, brain damage, muscle spasms, or many more ill effects.

Before salt was commercially produced, versus harvested naturally, it was considered the most precious commodity on earth, even more precious than gold. During the Celtic era, salt was used to treat major physical and mental disturbances, severe burns, and other ailments. In recent years, salt has earned a bad reputation, and people have learned to fear it in the same way they fear cholesterol and sunlight. Many doctors warn their patients to stay away from sodium and sodium-rich foods. Hoever, to live a salt-free live means that you will suffer an increased risk of mineral and trace mineral deficiences, and since salt is a natural preservatived, you may be rotting from the inside out.

Unrefined Sea Salt Vs. Refined Table Salt

All salt comes from the sea. Where they differentiate is if they are refined or unrefined. It is very important to understand this difference as one is very healthy and the other is very UNhealthy. One is full of essential minerals that are necessary for nearly every bodily process. The other is processed and "cleaned" with chemical agents to extend the shelf life and becomes the pure white table salt you see everywhere that is mineral-deficient. So why do they refine salt? The same reason they refine flour, oil, and sugar -- it assures a long shelf life.

Since table salt is void of essential minerals, and your cells require minerals to carry out their duties and work, where does your body get the minerals? It will begin to pull the stored minerals from your bones. Do you know what the definition of osteoporosis is? Decreased bone MINERAL density. This is why osteoporosis cannot be treated or reversed by simply drinking more milk or taking calcium. Calcium is not the only mineral in bone.

Natural sea salt allows water and fluids to cross in and out of the cells all over the body. This is a natural, important process that constantly occurs innately in our bodies. Refined table salt, however, may pose a great risk to the body because it prevents the free crossing of liquids and minerals. This causes fluids to accumulate and stagnate in joints, lymphatic ducts, lymph nodes, and kidneys. The dehydrating effect of commercial salt can lead to gallstone formation, weight increase, high blood pressure, and other health problems.

The body also requires salt to properly digest carbohydrates. Salt help facilitate the digestive process and sanitizes the GI tract. Commercially produced table salt has just the opposite effect. To make salt resist the re-absorption of moisture and be more convenient for the consumer, salt manufacturers add chemicals such as desiccants, as well as different bleaches, to the final salt formula. After undergoing processing, the salt can no longer blend or combine with human body fluids.

Water retention and kidney and blood pressure problems are the most obvious consequences of refined table salt consumption. I highly suggest swapping out your Morton's for unrefined salt and increase your water intake and see what happens. I always recommend taking unrefined sea salt because of all the elements are naturally dosed in proportions close to those of the internal human environment and form a highly active biological synergy. Contrarily, mineral supplementation which is used as a popular method of treatment whenever a deficiency is diagnosed, fails to recognize that minerals work in conjunction with each other in proper balance and they cannot work to heal when their concentration is increased disproportionately.

Benefits of Salt in the Body

1. Supplies the body with 80 essential mineral elements (table salt has been stripped of all but two elements and contain harmful additives including aluminum silicate -- a primary cause of Alzheimer's).

2. Regulates blood pressure and stabilizes irregular heartbeats.

3. Removes excess acidity from the cells in the body, particularly the brain cells.

4. Balances sugar levels in the blood; an essential element for diabetics.

5. Generates hydro-electric eneregy needed by the cells in the body.

6. Aids in communication and information processing in the nerve cells from conception to death.

7. Aids in digestion and absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract.

8. Clears mucus and sticky phlegm from the lungs, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis.

9. Is a natural antihistamine. Salt on the tongue will stop persistent dry coughs.

10. Makes bones firm! 27% of the body's salt is in the bones. Osteoporosis results when the body needs more salt and takes it from the body. Bones are 22% water. A major cause of osteoporosis is from salt deficiency. water deficiency or both!

11. Prevents excess saliva production. Saliva that is flowing out of the mouth during sleep may indicate salt deficiency.

12. Prevents muscle cramps.

13. Regulates sleep.

14. Prevents gout and gouty arthritis.

16. Prevents varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs.

Choose real salt "dirty salt", Celtic salt or Himalayan salt. 

These rules, I have been told, are handed down from ancient Sanskrit.

#1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.

#2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time, informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.

#3 There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works".

#4 A lesson is repeated until it is learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. Then you can go on to the next lesson.

#5 Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

#6 "There" is no better than "here." When you "there" has become a "here," you will simply obtain another "there" that again, looks better than "here."

#7 Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

#8 What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need; what you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

#9 The answers lie inside you. The answers to life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

21 Great Reasons to Take Garlic

(I take Shaklee's Garlic Complex because it is odor-controlled but doesn't kill the allicin and it combines that with the antioxidant properties of rosemary and spearmint. - Becca)

1) Garlic has long been promoted as a natural antibiotic more effective than many prescription drugs. 2 tablets of Shaklee's Garlic Complex equal 100,000 units of penicillin. For an infection 600,000 (12 Shaklee tabs) are needed.

2) Garlic soothes the stomach lining, decreases gas, bloating and diarrhea and strengthens the digestive system.

3) Combats respiratory problems such as coughs, sore throats, lung congestion, asthma, allergies and bronchitis.

4) As a diuretic, garlic works to rid tissues of excess fluid. Because of this effect along with its detoxifying properties, garlic is a superiour liver, gall bladder & kidney tonic as well.

5) As an anti-inflammatory, garlic helps relieve the pain and discomfort of arthritis, rheumatism and bursitis.

6) Garlic eases both muscle and menstrual cramps.

7) Research indicates that garlic may be one of the most valuable foods for heart health. Not only does it help keep blood clots from forming, it reduces blood pressure, lowers serum cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Just a small amount--one clove a day--mounts a powerful defense against heart attacks and strokes.

8) Research suggests that garlic's antioxidant properties are extremely effective as a cancer preventative. Overall incidence of cancer is significantly lower in people who consume raw garlic or a garlic supplement everyday.d selecting the options from the toolbar.

9) Helps those with type II diabetes. While the exact cellular mechanism is still a mystery, it is known that garlic can stimulate insulin output and aid the liver in removing sugar from the blood.

10) Garlic is a very effective weapon against stubborn fungi and yeasts (such as Candida). In fact, garlic kills more than 60 known fungi as well as 20 types of bacteria.​

11) Garlic kills tapeworms, round worms, pinworms and other parasites.

12) As a detoxifier, garlic removes heavy metals and other poisons from the cells. Since our environment is full of unavoidable toxins, daily use makes sense!

13) Garlic helps alleviate sinus problems.

14) Clears up acne.

15) Alleviates fever blisters.

16) Stimulates the immune system.

17) Regulates menstruation.

18) Kills athlete's foot.

19) Warms up cold hands and feet by increasing circulation.

20) Reduces fever.

21) Slows the aging process.

 also, mosquitoes do not like it. 

Eight Fatty Foods with Health Benefits

by Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D. and Adam Campbell, full article at

BEEF, POULTRY & PORK - The premise for these is that animal fat, which is natural, full of vitamins, protein and is filling, will ultimately help you lose weight because it will help you decrease your caloric intake without feeling deprived. Almost half of the fat in beef is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid -- the same heart-healthy fat that's found in olive oil. And most of the saturated fat in beef actually decreases your heart-disease risk - either by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, or by reducing your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol. Besides being one of the most available sources of high-quality protein, beef also provides many important nutrients such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Poultry has similar fat composition as beef and pork is a rather lean meat and becoming more so all the time. (The downside of meat is that it is routinely fed antibiotics and often raised in factory farm situations, so the healthiest options would be to buy from a local farmer who pursues free-range farming methods and doesn't feed hormones and antibiotics.) Moody Meats sells meat that meets these criteria. Also, avoid cured meats which are decidedly less wholesome and contain cancer promoting ingredients such as nitrates.

EGGS - Whole eggs contain more essential vitamins and minerals per calorie than virtually any other food. They're also one of the best sources of choline, a substance your body requires to break down fat for energy. In addition, eggs provide lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help provent macular degeneration and cataracts. (Webpage aside -- cigarette smoking has been linked to macular degeneration)

CHEESE - Cheese is a great diet food: 1) It's packed with protein and fat, which keep you full. 2) Cheese is versatile and convenient and tastes good. In a recent study, "the guys ate 205 grams of hard full-fat cheese a day.For instance, a typical serving of Parmesean cheese is one ounce. which is about 28 grams. So these guys were eating more than 7 servings a day. That's a lot of cheese. Yet their 'bad' LDL cholesterol didn't budge. The study only lasted 3 weeks, but that's plenty of time to see a change in LDL, and especially because they were eating so much. My point isn't that you should eat 7 servings of cheese a day. But rather, that you should ignore what you've been told. Fact is, full-fat cheese is a healthy food. It's a good source of calcium, and of course, hight-quality protein. Its fat content makes it taste good, and also likely helps you stay full longer than had you eaten fat-frree cheese. All of which makes it an excellent snack or topping. The other benefit of allowing yourself full-fat cheese is that it opens up your tastebuds to a world of new flavors." December issue

BUTTER - The fat in butter is animal fat. The kind of natural fat that people have eaten for thousands of years. Fat is necessary to help your body absorb carotenoids-- powerful disease-fighting antioxidants found in colorful vegetables-- and fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K.

COCONUT - It contains even more saturated fat than does butter. appears to have a beneficial effect on heart-disease risk factors because more than 50 percent of its saturated-fat content is lauric acid. "A recent analysis of 60 studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that even though lauric acid raises LDL (bad) cholesterol, it boosts HDL (good) cholesterol even more. Overall, this means it decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease. The rest of the saturated fat in a coconut is believed to have little or no efffect on cholesterol levels."

SOUR CREAM - 90% of it's calories are fat, about half are saturated fat. The percentage of fat is high, but the total amount isn't. A serving of sour cream is about 2 tablespoons--about 52 calories, half the amount in a single tablespoon of mayonnaise and less saturated fat than you would get from a 12-ounce glass of 2% milk. Again it is natural animal fat, not dangerous trans fat. Light or fat-free products have added carbohydrates. This is true of most light or fat-free products. They keep the taste by adding sugars to replace the good taste from fats.

Skim or whole milk?? "The majority of scientific research has shown that drinking whole milk actually improves cholesterol levels, just not as much as skim. One recent exception: University of Denmark researchers found that men who consumed a diet rich in whole milk experienced a slight increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol (6 points). However, it's worth noting that these men drank six 8-ounce glasses a day, an unusally high amount. And even so, their triglycerides--another marker for heart disease risk--decreased by 22 percent. The bottom line: Dinking 2-3 glasses of milk a day, whether it be skim, 2%, or whole, lowers the likelihood of both heart attack and stroke--a finding that was confirmed by U.K. scientists."


           Between increasing bills, gas prices, higher cost of food, medical insurance and procedures, and paychecks not keeping stride with the rest, expendable income is scarce at best. Ever-increasing stress can be the result. In this climate, massage could easily be thought of as a luxury for the well-to-do. Actually the opposite is true. Massage is great preventative maintenance which could lower your medical bills.

            Stressful times trigger the body's fight or flight mechanism. It wants to do something to counteract the forces in life that are creating distress. Fight or flight triggers the release of cortisol in the body. It is a survival mechanism of the adrenal gland in response to a potential danger sensed in the environment. Cortisol increases immunity and memory, creates a burst of energy, lowers pain perception and balances the body's functions. It is useful in short bursts and a relaxation period should follow to return the body to normal.

            However, in our society, this release of cortisol is ongoing creating chronic stress and its effects are quite the opposite. The results include decreases in immunity, brain function, bone density and muscle mass and thyroid imbalances. It can also increase eating, especially carbohydrates, which leads to increased weight and diseases such as diabetes, stroke and heart attack.

            Massage allows the body to return to a relaxed state and breaks the cycle of the stress response. Muscles that have tightened in response to perceived threats relax, allowing blood, oxygen and lymph to circulate freely. Tight muscles reduce this free circulation and create pain. Pain causes the muscles to tighten further to try protect the painful area. Other muscles try to take over for the muscles in pain, creating compensation patterns that echo throughout the body.

            Deep-tissue massage is especially useful in breaking this pain-spasm-pain cycle. It demonstrates Newton's third law, "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Application of pressure to a muscle in tension causes its release. When the muscles are released, they "remember" their proper resting state. Yes, muscles do have memory. It is amazing how many clients recall injuries they may have "forgotten" during a massage.

            Massage also increases proprioceptive awareness. This is the brain's connection to the muscles that informs the body where it is located in time and space. This is especially beneficial in the elderly who may suffer from falls. It can also help with work-related and repetitive stress injuries. After a massage, the body-brain connection is enhanced and the client frequently realizes what they are doing on a regular basis that is triggering a painful response in the body. Sometimes the therapist can determine this for the client, but it is frequently an "aha!" moment for the client who suddenly figures out what they have been doing with their body.

            The medical community all too frequently wants to prescribe a pill to mask pain or recommend surgery to "correct" a condition. Sometimes these are viable solutions. Massage, however, is a good starting point. Pain is educational; you don't want to just ignore it. It is trying to tell you something. Massage can get the mind and body to talk to each other, usually with beneficial outcomes.

Rebecca Arrick is an Indiana Certified Massage Therapist and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She is the owner of Healing Arts Center LLC, 515A Wallace Ave., Crawfordsville.

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