Health & Wellness Blog

    

How to Deal With Stress

How to Deal With StressWould it surprise you to learn that the biggest health reason why people have to take time off work is stress? Although the number of days lost has fallen over the last decade, the Health And Safety Executive estimate that 10.8 million days are lost every year in the UK because of stress. On average, each person suffering with anxiety, stress or depression takes 27 days away from the office. It’s a massive problem, and something that many employers seem unwilling to deal with. So how do you recognise the signs of stress and deal with it before it becomes an issue?

Symptoms

Stress is often described alongside the related conditions of anxiety and depression as they are all interlinked. By the time you notice that you are feeling under stress, the symptoms have been building up for quite some time. Some of the early indicators that you may be suffering from stress include irritability, anxiety, change in eating habits, headaches, worrying about work and loss of self-esteem. Not everyone suffering with stress has the same symptoms, as every case is highly individual.

Identifying

Once you have recognised that you are suffering from stress, the next step along the process is trying to work out what it is in your life which is making you stressed. It may not be your job at all; you may be looking after an elderly parent, or dealing with a newborn baby who is awake half the night.

Keeping a diary which details what you have done on a day to day basis and when you have felt stressed will help identify what triggers the symptoms in your case. Simple lifestyle changes such as making the effort to eat healthy, balanced meals rather than grabbing a takeaway, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol and taking more exercise can also help combat low-level stress and make you feel better about yourself too. If you feel that symptoms are severe, take a trip to the doctor to explore what other help may be available.

Me-Time

One of the main factors for stress in our everyday lives is that we never seem to get time just to “be”. Whether it’s the kids with constant requests for snacks, or the mobile phone buzzing to let you know you’ve got yet another text from the office, there are more demands on us than ever. It’s not often easy to find time to explore our own interests, but even a few hours a week can make a huge difference.

Leave the mobile at home and go for a long walk in the park, a swim or do an aerobics class at the gym. If being creative is more your sort of thing, put some woodworking tools like a mitre box on your wish list and start planning your first project. Once you’ve got your mitre box and other tools together, make a regular space in the diary to retreat into the garage or spare room to spend some time switched off from the pressures of everyday life and doing something you really enjoy.

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How Learning to Play the Piano Effects the Brain

Pianos Scientific evidence has proved that learning to play a musical instrument like the piano affects and even makes changes on an individual's brain.

Various research studies have shown that learning the piano (as well as other musical instruments) has an affect on the auditory cortex, a part of the brain that is responsible for the processing of sound.

According to the findings, pianists tend to show more brain activity on this part of the brain. Other studies have also shown that preschoolers with musical training exhibit larger brain responses on various sound recognition tests. Individuals with early childhood piano lessons tend to have enhanced motor and auditory skills. They also exhibit improved verbal ability as well as nonverbal reasoning. Such training enhances a person's acoustic responsiveness.

In musicians, the brain structure that is associated with auditory processing is larger in the left hemisphere and smaller in the right. They also have a thicker nerve-fiber tract between the left and the right hemisphere. This increases the speed of communication between the two hemispheres. Music stimulates both sides of the brain as well as the area that contains the memory and emotions

Piano Lessons and the Affect on Memory

Its been shown that undertaking piano lessons has an impact on a person's memory. A study by Agnes Chan of the University of Hongkong proved that those individuals who had received musical training before the age of 12 had a better memory when it came to the spoken words than those who had never received such training.

Therefore, piano lessons have a long a long-term effect on someone's verbal memory. It affects his/her attention and memory which in turn leads to better learning.

Neural Pathways and Neuroplasticity

A research conducted by Nina Kraus of Northwestern University showed that musical training has some effects on a person's nervous system. The training builds meaningful patterns that are important in learning. Active engagement with musical sounds enhances neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to change and even adapt as a result of training or experience.

Understanding music (especially learning to translate musical symbols into sounds like with piano lessons,) enhances the individual's ability to learn other things which share similar neuro pathways. Early musical training helps in strengthening connections between the neurons in the brain which leads to long-term development in certain parts of the brain.

Researchers probing the inner working of the brain have found neural firing patterns that are resemble musical patterns. This therefore suggests that music holds the key to higher brain functioning

Spatial-Temporal Function

A study in which children were given eight months of piano lessons in Atlanta proved that musical training improved spatial temporal reasoning. Children who take piano lessons tend to score higher in tests on general and spatial cognitive development. Pianos lessons can significantly reduce anxiety, depression and stress.

The best way to strengthen the eye-hand coordination and improve one's motor skills is through playing the piano. The children who take piano lessons learn a lot concerning dedication, discipline and the reward of hard work.

From all there findings, it is quite evident that piano lessons have so many to the brain. Besides benefiting the brain, the joy of making music is quite satisfying to most piano players.

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Massage Therapy: Determining The Massage That's Right for You

Massage TherapyMassage is a form of therapy that has been practiced for thousands of years. The massage techniques have developed into many varieties, suited for different health conditions and levels of stress.

Today, you can choose from over 80 different massage therapies encompassing a wide variety of techniques, movements, and pressures. All of them involve rubbing, pressing, or manipulating soft tissues and muscles with fingers and hands. Sometimes are used even elbows, forearms, or feet.

You can choose from among these many massage styles to heal injuries or to alleviate different symptoms, to help with certain medical conditions, and to promote overall health and wellness. People need to know how to assess their levels of stress, emotional distress, and physical tension in order to pursue the right massage therapy for their current state.

Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

Most of the types of massage offer various health benefits beyond simple relaxation. It is recommended to consult your doctor before using massage for a health condition. Here are a few of the health conditions that can benefit from massage therapy:

  • Back pain - Many studies have shown that massage therapy is efficient for relief from back pain. Massage can reduce the need for painkiller by 36 percent and it works better than spinal modifications and acupuncture for persistent back pain.
  • Headache - Headaches also responds well to massage therapy, especial cranial massage, as shown by many studies. Massage can improve sleep and reduce the number of migraines.
  • Osteoarthritis - Clinical trials have shown that the Swedish massage is effective for alleviating knee osteoarthritis, by reducing pain bringing improvements in stiffness and function.
  • Cancer - Massage can reduce cancer symptoms and promote relaxation when it is used as a complement to Western medicine. Massage may help to reduce swelling, pain, nausea, fatigue, depression, and improve the function of the immune system.
  • Anxiety - Many studies have proved the efficiency of the massage therapy in reliving from anxiety and depression. The studies have shown that massage can increase the level of neurotransmitters that reduce depression and lower the levels of cortisol by up to 50 percent.

Which Type of Massage Therapy Is Best For You?

We will provide some information that you may use to help you decide what massage type to chose for your health conditions, level of stress and overall wellness. Different massage techniques get popular at different times there are massage styles that have proved their efficiency over long term.

The massage therapies range from smooth and long strokes to percussive and short strokes. Some massage therapists use lotions and oils, others do not. A massage session can last from just several minutes up to two hours. Before deciding what massage style to choose for yourself, you need to clarify whether you want a massage just for stress control and relaxation or you need help with a certain health condition and symptom relief.

Here is a list with some of the most popular styles of massage therapy:

  • Swedish Massage - Swedish massage is one of the most common and popular type of massage. It is beneficial in reliving muscle tension and it can help after an injury. Swedish massage can be both energizing and relaxing.
  • Neuromuscular Therapy Massage - Neuromuscular therapy aims to treat underlying causes of chronic pain involving the nervous systems and the muscular system. It addresses trigger points, nerve compression, circulation, biomechanical problems, postural issues that are caused by repetitive movement injuries.
  • Deep Tissue Massage - Deep tissue massage is best for treating certain painful and stiff spots in your body. It can bring help with muscle injuries, back sprain, and bring relief in chronic patterns of tension.
  • Sports Massage - Sports massage helps athletes in training, but the general public can use it to help prevent injuries and promote flexibility.
  • Shiatsu Massage - Shiatsu massage is a form of Japanese massage that helps relieve energy blockages at the acupressure points.
  • Thai Massage - Thai massage is used for relaxation and flexibility of joints.
  • Hot Stone Massage - Hot stone massage is relaxing and soothing, offering a different layer to the process.
  • Reflexology - Reflexology promotes overall health and well being and can address specific health conditions by stimulating certain areas of the feet that correspond to different body parts.

You need to let the massage therapist know what you are looking for, before booking a session. Many massage therapists are specialized in more than one massage style and they can choose the most suitable technique for you and customize your session for your condition, age, and special needs or goals.

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