Fainting

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Fainting

Fainting is also known as syncope, which is a complete or partial loss of consciousness with an interruption of awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings. This loss of consciousness is temporary and there is usually a spontaneous recovery. It is caused by a reduction of blood flow to the brain which causes a shortage of oxygen and leads to lightheadedness or a blackout (loss of consciousness).

Symptoms

Dizziness, clamminess of the skin, dimming of the vision and a weakness in the limbs leading to physical collapse.

Causes

Temporary impairment of blood to the brain can be the result of heart conditions or other causes:

  • Heart related causes: Abnormal heart rhythms (beating too fast or too slow). Abnormalities of the heart valves (aortic or pulmonic valve stenosis). High blood pressure in the arteries supplying the lungs (pulmonary artery hypertension). Tears in the aorta. Widespread disease of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy).
  • Other causes :
  • Postural (orthostatic) hypotension – drop in blood pressure due to changing body position to vertical after lying or sitting (eg. standing up too quickly)
  • Dehydration -causing a decrease in blood volume
  • Blood pressure medications leading to low blood pressure
  • Diseases of the nerves to the legs (especially in older people, in this case diabetes and Parkinsons plays a role) when the poor condition of the nerves of the legs draws blood into the legs from the brain.
  • High altitude
  • Brain stroke or near stroke (transient ischemic attack)
  • Migraine
  • Some people may also faint during certain events such as giving blood, urinating, defecating, coughing or swallowing excessively.

 

How to stop yourself from fainting once symptoms appear

The blood supply needs to be returned to the brain so the person should be positioned on the ground, on their back, with their legs elevated, or they can sit on the ground with their head between their knees. The dizziness should pass and vision will return. Most feel nauseous, have a sore throat or general shakiness after a faint.

How to prevent fainting

Avoid trigger situations.

  • Get up slowly after sitting or lying down
  • Don’t strain while eliminating
  • Lie down when giving or drawing blood
  • Medication should be reviewed regularly and persons should eat proper meals to prevent a change in blood pressure and sugar
  • In the case of elderly persons who have a history of fainting (normally linked to diabetes), refined sugar must be avoided and they should eat small but frequent meals.

 

Source: Camelot pathophysiology, 2013 manual. Page 34-35.

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What you need to know about headaches.

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Headaches

Generally headaches respond well to massage, but it must be known that the sustainable treatment of headaches can be done once the cause is known.

Some of the causes may be low or high blood pressure, exhaustion, dehydration and be hormone or medication related. Some food disturbances may also be the cause. Some of these include dairy, chocolate or coffee.

Types of headaches:

Migraine

Usually females more commonly suffer with this type of headache. This is a severe headache during which the sufferer may prefer to be in a dark room with no noise or activity in an attempt to relieve the pain. Many experience this kind of headache with a kind of “aura” that includes visual spots, colours, smells and other sensations just before the headache starts. This is normally an indication as to an impending migraine, which can last for 1-4 days.

Cluster headaches

Usually this sufferer tends to be male and this headache is sometimes relieved by movement. It has been said that the pain is so severe that the person wants to hit their head on the wall. This sufferer is usually agitated and has sinus/allergy problems. Sometimes this headache is triggered by alcohol, tobacco or allergens and normally occurs in clusters for 1-2 weeks for up to a year, followed by pain free intervals. The headaches normally last less than 3 hours, but may occur many times in a day.

Tension headache

These headaches are the most common and are caused by tension in the neck muscles which is aggravated by stress or strong emotions. Massage will greatly benefit sufferers from tension headaches.

Cervicogenic headache

This is a headache resulting from a misalignment of the spine in the cervical area and responds well to chiropractic care.

RED FLAGS

Headaches can also be a sign of disease and great care needs to be taken if the following symptoms present themselves:

  • The sudden onset of very severe headaches
  • The onset of headaches in an older person
  • Persistent and severe headaches in a child
  • Headaches associated with cognitive changes
  • Severe headaches at night
  • Headaches following trauma, or accompanied by seizures and vomiting without nausea
  • Headaches associated with drug or alcohol dependance
  • Constant headaches that become severe
  • Headaches associated with existing cancers

In such cases a medical professional must always be consulted

Source:

Camelot International sports massage manual (2013) p. 158.

Dangerous ingredients common in most foods (additives.)

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Dangerous ingredients common in most foods (additives.)

Below is a list of common colourants, preservatives and sweeteners that can cause serious harm to the body.

Colourants

Tartrazine – E102. Bright yellow coal tar dye present in yellow, oragne and green sweets responsible for a wide range of allergic and intolarant symptoms. Eg, hyperactivity, asthma, migranes and rashes.

Annatto – E160. Yellow colouring extracted from archiote tree used to colour cheese and butter. There is evidence that it can provoke symptoms of urticaria (hives) or angioneurotic oedema.

Aluminium- E173. Silver colourant found in teas (not herbal). Evidence shows it plays a part in senility. It is absorbed into the body by contaminated food through oxidised pots.

Preservatives

Sodium benzoate E211. Used in South African margarines, dried fruit, cold drinks and bottled sauces. Promotes ill health, foetal damage, hyperactivity and asthma.

Sulphur dioxide and sodium sulphate E220 and E227. Contained in dried fruit and red meat. Reduces levels of calcium, enhances carcinogenic action, destroys vitamin B1. Causes nausea, headaches, provokes asthma attacks, eczema, hypretension and ulcers.

Sodium nitrate and nitrates – E250 and E251. Contained in all processed meats. It interfeares with the machanism for distrobuting oxygen around the body. It combines with amoni acids to form nitrosamines which are highly carcinogenic.

Acetic acid – E260. Main ingredient in vinegars (mayonnaise, dressings etc.) and acts as a flavourant and preservative. This substance is corrosive and toxic. It irritates tissues and damages the central nervous system, kidneys and liver.

Calcium propionate – E282. Used in breads (white, wholewheat and rye.) Causes migranes, destroys enzymes that enables us to assimilate calcium.

Sweeteners

Sorbital – E420.-Possibly carcinogenic, produces diarrhoea and bladder tumors.

Aspartame. Known to cause mental retardation, neuro-endocrine disorders (eg, thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands)- Can also cause epileptic seizures.

Saccharin. Can cause cancer of the urinary tract.

MSG Monosodium glutamate. This is a flavour enhancer-Can overstimulate taste buds, making them inflamed and oversensitive. Affects chemistry of the brain and causes acute discomfort to the body. Eg, headaches, muscle and respiratory tightness.

Caffeine. Contained in coffee, cocoa, tea, chocolates and colas and is a flavourant. Caffeine acts as a stimulant and affects the central nervous system, heart and kidneys. It can result in nervousness, anxiety, irritability and insomnia.

References:

Blach, P. (2010). Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements: Penguin.

Vegan cosmetics.

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Vegan cosmetics, are they for real?

Vegan is the latest lifestyle adjustment and trendy word used to describe not only food (not eating animals or their by-products), but now cosmetics too. Most think that it’s just a marketing trend but it has important standards supporting it.

  • Vegan cosmetics are those that have not been tested on animals.

We have all seen the videos and photos that show the results of animal-testing involving products that leave the animal traumatised and scarred, literally. This practice is seen as cruel and many seek out products that specifically are not tested on animals. In this way the entire cosmetic market has shifted towards anti-cruelty and this has been slowly happening for many years.

  • No animal by-products used.

In almost every product there are animal by-products that are often obtained in harsh ways. The by-product normally has to be highly refined by adding chemicals to make it user-friendly but some have negative side effects over time.

For example:

Hyaluronic Acid is used in anti-ageing skincare products as it is an antioxidant, a humectant (drawing moisture up in the skin) and it boosts collagen synthesis. Hyaluronic acid is found in human umbilical cords and rooster combs. Since the early 1980s, it has been produced from rooster combs on an industrial scale. If you buy a product that contains this anti-ageing ingredient, rather check and make sure that it was made by producing enzymes from a bacteria-based biofermentation process.  It is likely that most products you buy in the shops will contain the rooster comb by-product.
Carmine is a red dye that is often used in lipsticks, rouge, eye-shadow and other cosmetics. It is also used a lot in food and drinks, particularly items that are bright red (think of ruby-red juice and supermarket curries!). It is made of red pigment from the crushed female cochineal insect. PETA reports that 70,000 beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this dye. This sounds horribly unnecessary when beetroot can be used as a replacement, which, as everyone knows, stains everything red.
Collagen:  Collagen is advertised to prevent aging and help firm the skin. However, collagen in skincare products won’t actually do all that much, because it doesn’t get absorbed deep enough into the skin to help strengthen fibrous tissue. And you might be even more put off when you find out that most collagen in skincare creams comes from chicken feet and ground-up animal horns.

Elastin: much like collagen, the loss of elastin is one of the main reasons for facial ageing. Again, skincare companies claim that their product boosts elastin, so some of them add it to their creams and lotions. Will it penetrate your skin sufficiently to do this?  The research consensus suggests probably not. According to PETA, this protein is extracted from the neck-ligaments and aortas of cows.
Lanolin (oil from sheep wool):  This is the waterproofing layer (sebum) found on the wool and when it is separated it has to be refined with chemicals to help kill germs and improve its appearance – since its natural colour is rather unappealing. Because of the “natural” animal smell, perfumes are added to the product which introduce more harmful chemicals to the skin. Lanolin’s purpose is to keep the skin hydrated by forming a barrier and is often used in creams.

Squalene (shark liver oil): This ingredient has many benefits on the skin and is even used in capsule form to hydrate the skin. It has been frowned upon in recent years due to the cruel hunting of sharks.

Ambergris (whale vomit): It is waxy oil used as a base ingredient for many perfumes, incense and food and is used to anchor scents.

Guanine (fish scales): Guanine shows up on product labels as CI 75170 or natural pearl essence and is obtained by soaking the fish in alcohol and scraping off  the scales. This is most commonly found in products that have shimmer- eye-shadows, lipsticks and nail polish.

Keratin:  The advertisers of many shampoos and hair rinses like to tell you all about their added Keratin which will strengthen your hair. What they don’t tell you is that it’s extracted from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals.
Using the word ‘vegan’ may be a catch-phrase, but the principles behind vegan products are for the benefit of all animals.
Sources:

http://www.herbhedgerow.co.uk/animal-products-in-cosmetics/#ixzz3K67dn4XI

http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/animal-ingredients-list.aspx

Products for your skin type and conditions. (Not product brands.)

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SKIN TYPES (Every person’s skin can be divided into these 5 groups.)

Combination skin. (Normally the nose, chin and forehead is oily – called the T panel. Chin, nose and cheeks are oily – called the butterfly zone. The rest of the face can be normal/dry.)

  • Use a gel based cleanser for combination skin.
  • You can use a toner on the very oily parts of your face.
  • Don’t over exfoliate- this can aggravate the skin to produce more oil and will strip the drier areas of the face.
  • You will need two types of masks for best effect, a hydrating mask for the drier areas and a clay/absorbing mask for the oily areas.
  • Combination moisturiser, can be cream or gel depending on your preference.
  • Apply tea tree oil onto pimples – this will kill germs and dry it out.

Oily skin. (Large pores, breakouts, shine on the skin, bumpy feeling under the skin.)

  • Gel cleanser for oily skin.
  • Use a toner that has allantion or witch hazel (astringents-close pores and remove excess oil)
  • Dont over exfoliate- this can aggravate the skin to produce more oil. Enzymatic exfoliate is recommended (works via fruit acids instead of manual scrubbing of granules).
  • Keep in mind that while skin is oily, it can be dehydrated at the same time (lacks water, not oil) so use a hydrating mask every now and then as well as a clay/absorbing one.
  • Gel moisturiser.
  • Apply tea tree oil onto pimples – this will kill germs and dry it out.

Dry (Flakey, dull and rough skin – products may burn because of microscopic cracks in the skin)

  • Cream/milk cleanser.
  • Toner isn’t essential.
  • Any exfoliant but make sure it isn’t stripping (No gel based exfoliants.)
  • Hydrating mask.
  • For extreme dryness use a skin oil under the mask.
  • Cream moisturiser.

Mature/premature (Wrinkles, sun spots and sagging.)

Treated the same as dry, although there are cases of oily mature/premature skin – in that case use the oily regimen but use firming serums/masks in between.)

SKIN CONDITIONS (You can be one of the above (type) with many of the below (conditions)).

Sensitivity (Reacts to many products, touch and weather. Eg. Eczema )

Be very careful of what you use on your skin. Most sensitive ranges are cream based which is fine for most people but if you have sensitive oily skin keep the following in mind: Avoid products with long winded ingredients that you don’t understand, the shorter the ingredient list the better. Avoid alcohol ingredients at all costs and go for plant based products, use aloe gel every now and then because it helps nourish and protect the skin and NEVER use a granular exfoliant.

Dehydration

Without a doubt EVERYONE has this condition. These form fine lines on the forehead and around the eyes. Add hydrating serums/masks to your regimen and don’t use products that leave your skin feeling “squeaky.”

Reactive (Goes red easily but goes away quickly, doesn’t normally react to products and flares up in cold or hot weather.)

Using certain products can help reduce redness (Vitamin B’s, K, E and A) but this skin condition is normally due to genetics and is difficult to treat. Barrier creams also work well against the weather.

What you don’t know about muscles and how to properly care for them

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Muscles form the cornerstone of the movement, structure and strength of the body. They store nutrients, energy and assist in maintaining the temperature of the body through activity. Without them we wouldn’t be able to function efficiently, yet we only seem to take care of them when a problem occurs. The prevention of muscle disorders/injuries is far more important than treatment, but once a muscle is injured, recovery can be fairly quick if the information mentioned in this article is kept in mind.

There are 8 very important muscles in the body that are in a state of permanent semi-contraction and only rest when we sleep. These are called anti-gravity muscles.  These muscles are the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, trapezius (upper-midback), hamstrings, errecor spinnae (run parallel and alongside the spine), rectus abdominus (6 pack muscles), gastrocnemius(calf), and tibialis anterior(shin muscles). These all help us keep our balance and posture, but when one of them is injured, it can cause a major disruption to the body. Special care must be taken of these muscles at all times, because they are almost always tight and tense from the stresses that we put on them, not only physically, but emotionally as well. Our emotions affect our muscles too, as they cause us to tense up and long-term tension results in knots.

What are knots/fibrous adhesions?

When a muscle has been tight for an extended period of time, the weakest point often gives way and bunches up. Imagine pulling an old elastic band and certain areas bunch up, while the rest keep stretching until they give way. A lump is a bunched-up part of the muscle and is called a knot. Often when an injury occurs, the surrounding muscles compensate and take the load, and this too, can cause knots. Other causes of knots are: poor diet, poor circulation, poor posture, skeletal disorders, sickness, stress, muscle disorders, old injuries and a lack of exercise or flexibility.

Knots are grouped into two categories: active and passive.

  • Active knots are painful without even touching them – back-ache is symptomatic of active knots.
  • Passive knots can be present, but you won’t notice until someone presses on them, and then only will pain be felt.

Knots restrict movement, cause pain and decrease muscle strength, but most go unnoticed because the body becomes accustomed to the symptoms and compensates. When a knot becomes particularly bad, the pain often transfers to the nearest joint – leading people to believe that they have torn ligaments or tendons. Knots that have been untreated for an extended period of time lose blood circulation and a buildup of toxins occurs, which is why some experience headaches after massage.

The only way to release a knot is to relax the muscle or stretch it. This can be accomplished by chiropractors, physiotherapists, masseuses and even some alternative forms of therapy such as acupuncture. The smaller and more recent knots are relatively easy to remove, but the older knots (which can feel like rocks), might take many sessions. Keep in mind that removing knots is normally very painful.

I personally recommend seeing a sports masseuse or physiotherapist, since they specialise in treating muscles. They will be able to feel if the pain is related to muscles and find the problematic muscles, or simply keep the muscles in good health. (See my article on massage)

Rules to adhere to when looking after your muscles.

  1. Always stretch before and after exercise. This is advice that almost no-one takes seriously. I have personally seen the difference in athletes when they stretch – it definitely helps prevent injuries.
  1. Drink plenty water and get enough sleep.
  1. Seek regular treatment to relax your muscles. Even when you sit behind a desk all day, your muscles are taking strain, and regular treatments will prevent pain and injuries later on.
  1. If you have a muscle injury you MUST seek treatment. The smallest tear in a muscle can affect your muscle performance later in life and almost all injures come back to haunt you.

Vitamins for healthy muscles.

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): promotes normal muscle tone. Found in meats and whole grains.
  • Vitamin C: Promotes healthy muscles and strengthens the body’s resistance to sickness. Found in citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables.

Minerals

  • Calcium: Promotes muscle growth, contraction and prevents cramps. Found in Green leafy vegetables and raw nuts/seeds.
  • Iodine: Important in physical and mental development. Found in seafood.
  • Potassium: Ensures proper muscle function and contractions. Found in milk or bananas
  • Magnesium: Ensures proper muscle function. Found in whole gains and green leafy vegetables.

Natural food supplements

  • Evening primrose oil: Natural anti-inflammatory and relieves muscle strains.
  • Barley grass: Natural anti-inflammatory.

Aromatherapy oils for muscle care

  • Lemongrass: Rejuvenates muscles, prevents fatigue, eliminates lactic acid and stimulates circulation.
  • Rosemary: Warms and clears overused muscles and relieves muscular aches. Helps restore tone.
  • Peppermint: Relieves aches, pains and tired muscles. Numbs and warms muscles too.
  • Ginger: Good for warming muscles and relieves pain, cramps, sprains and spasms.

Massage for better health.

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Massage for better health.

The value of massage is immeasurable, but this is often only realised after having had a particularly good one. “I should do this more”, I hear on a daily basis, but people don’t always return because the blissful memory fades and is quickly replaced by the bustle of daily life and the stresses of work which again become our focus. In the meantime, the aches and pains return until they become unbearable once again.
So what can massage actually do for us?
• Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
• Assist with shorter, easier labour for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
• Ease medication dependence.
• Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
• Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
• Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
• Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
• Increase joint flexibility.
• Lessen depression and anxiety.
• Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
• Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
• Reduce post-surgery adhesions and swelling.
• Reduce spasms and cramping.
• Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
• Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
• Relieve migraine pain. (1)

With all these benefits, what stops us from having regular massages? Two factors come up constantly, price and time. To address both of these issues, the topic of self-indulging will be addressed.
Massage is seen as a luxury to enjoy on one’s birthday or other special occasions only. This makes massage appear self indulging and only to be enjoyed when it is deserved, which is rare. If a child excels in an exam he or she is rewarded by parents, when an animal acts in a positive manner it is given a treat, if a friend does us a favour, a gift is given. Perhaps if we see the body for what it is, a highly intelligent and complex organism, we would understand that it too, needs to be rewarded. When the value of something is fully realised, time and money will always be set aside for it. Take your health for example, an ancient proverb comes into mind; “The youth spend their health to make wealth, and as they age wealth is spent to regain health”. We usually wait until a condition becomes unbearable and then suddenly time and money become available to treat it, when it could easily have been nipped in the bud.
Readers may not know that massage is actually an ideal therapy for preventing and treating many variations of illnesses:

• Bad Posture, Postural Distortions, & Functional Scoliosis
• Aches & Pains
o Neck Pain
o Shoulder Pain
o Arm, Wrist, and Hand Pain
o Upper & Mid Back Pain
o Low Back Pain
o Hip Pain
o Leg and Knee Pain
o Foot Pain

• Plantar Fasciitis
• Hammer Toes, Claw Toes, Mallet Toes
• Golfer’s Elbow, Tennis Elbow, Medial Epicondylitis, Lateral Epicondylitis
• Trigger Finger and Dupuytren’s Contracture
• Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Headaches, Migraine headaches, and Tension Headaches
• Temporo-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) (a.k.a. Jaw Soreness, TMJ)
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
• Frozen Shoulder
• Whiplash
• Sciatica & False Sciatica
• Strains & Sprains
• Tendonitis
• Asthma
• Constipation
• Sleeping Disorders
• Shin splints
• Achilles Tendonitis (2)

In Asian cultures massage is a part of daily life and is easily available. Within our own communities massage is also fairly common, but price is normally linked to quality, although there are always hidden treasures where massage is both great and the price is low.

(1) http://www.massagetherapy.com/learnmore/benefits.php
(2) http://www.treatmentmassage.com/conditions-treated.html