Happy New Year!

Tomorrow begins 2011! And a New Year is always a great time to set goals and vow to improve something about yourself. If you're wanting to make a change, but aren't sure what resolution to declare, check out this list of popular New Year's resolutions from www.usa.gov.

Popular New Year's Resolutions
  • Drink Less Alcohol
  • Get a Better Education
  • Get a Better Job
  • Get Fit
  • Lose Weight
  • Manage Debt
  • Manage Stress
  • Quit Smoking Now
  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
  • Save Money
  • Take a Trip
  • Volunteer to Help Others
Are you setting a resolution for 2011? What is it?


Learn All About Aromatherapy

Did you know that some fragrances can relax you while others can energize you? Come learn all about aromatherapy in this hands-on workshop. This workshop teaches you how fragrances can be used in healing, physical, mental and spiritual ways. Learn which fragrances are sedative and which ones stimulate the brain and body. During class, students even make a custom blend of oils to take home! This workshop is open to the community and has no prerequisite, so grab a friend and come learn all about aromatherapy!

Date: Saturday, January 29, 2011
Times: 9 am - 4 pm
Cost: $100
Prerequisite: None
NCBTMB: 6 hours

Click here to register!


Fitness and Massage Go Hand in Hand

For those who work in both fields, it's apparent that fitness and massage therapy go hand in hand (pun intended!). After all, both support overall health and wellness, not to mention that both can improve range of motion and help reduce stress and boost mood. Here at WellSpring, we've had many students take both our Fitness Training and Wellness Program and our Massage Therapy Program so that they're able to offer clients both services. And now it looks like this type of integration is getting some attention!

We recently came across this article in Massage Today that discusses the positive benefits of the integration of fitness and massage therapy. We think that they're the perfect marriage of skills, but that in order to offer both services you need to -- of course -- be certified and properly educated in both!


Merry Christmas

From the WellSpring School of Allied Health staff to you and yours, a happy and healthy holiday! Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of jurvetson on Flickr.


The Top Health Club Trends for 2011

The The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), recently released a list of health club trends for 2011. Some might surprise you, and it's good news for our personal-training students!

Trend 1: Clubs and Trainers are Providing More Age-Appropriate Offerings. From specific programming and certifications for exercisers over 55 to youth programming, clubs will offer more age-specific options. There is also a growing trend for sports-specific training for children from elementary school on up. This trend is popular because while not every child will become a top athlete, this training helps boost confidence in all areas of life, and helps some youth to be better athletes in their chosen sport(s). Also, due to the obesity epidemic in children, more clubs, training programs and equipment will continue to be designed around children's unique fitness needs.

Trend 2: Cross-promotion with Non-Club Activities & Niche-Specific Facilities. Health club members are very active, using their clubs an average of 102 days per year, and they also participate in a variety of sports activities outside the club.Therefore, club operators and fitness professionals are increasingly offering workshops on functional training for sports such as tennis, training for triathlons or marathons and skiing. Also, more clubs are taking those programs even further and specializing as a niche business (ie. boxing, rock climbing and mixed martial arts based clubs).

Trend 3: Equipment trends from the ancient to the cutting edge. What's old is new again: Kettlebells, originating in Russia in the early 1700s, have exploded into both the club and home fitness markets as they have proven to be very effective for building strength. Also vibration equipment: Exercising on a platform designed to vibrate at very high speeds is a hot trend that club operators and trainers were among the first to embrace. Then there's "human-Power:" There is a rapidly growing number of health clubs and cycling studios, where the cardio equipment is specifically designed to not only not require electricity, but to actually produce electricity as members exercise. The electricity generated is enough to at least partially offset the power required to run the televisions, fans, lighting and HVAC. This ties into the over all move towards "greener" business practices that many health clubs have adopted.

Trend 4: The Rise of Wellness Programming. Multiple research findings point to the need for and rise of wellness programming. Seventy-three percent of US consumers consider being physically fit important to being 'well.' According to The Economic Benefits of Regular Exercise, an IHRSA publication, researchers have found that the return on investment among companies that offer wellness benefits ranges from $1.49 to $13 for every dollar invested. Wellness-oriented services in both the health club and the workplace are proven to help address consumer health goals, reduce the impact of obesity rates, and improve business profitability. Wellness programming initiatives and services include partnerships with local health care providers, workplace wellness facilities, personal training for special medical populations, and nutrition coaching for the overweight/obese exerciser.

Trend 5: Group Exercise Programming is Experiencing Phenomenal Growth. Group exercise, both traditional aerobics and unconventional new classes, are as popular as ever among health club members. Group exercise classes with the largest growth rates are cardio-kickboxing, yoga, high-impact aerobics, dance style classes and strength training classes.

Trend 6: The Evolution of Personal Training. In 1999, 4 million Americans were using personal trainers. Now that number hovers around 6.5 million. Once thought of as only for super-rich, one-name celebrities such as Cher, Madonna and Sting, now personal training is the most commonly offered program in clubs, with more than 90 percent of all clubs offering personal training of some kind. The main factor for growth, even in the recession, is the trend away from one-on-one training towards small-group or semi-private training to increase the fun level while mitigating expenses.


Bring on the Garlic!

This holiday season, when you're in the kitchen cooking up a storm, be sure to not skimp on a few key ingredients when cooking: garlic, onions and leeks! According to researchers at King's College London and the University of East Anglia, women who consume a diet high in allium vegetables (such as garlic, onions and leeks) have lower levels of hip osteoarthritis.

This study is the first of its kind to delve deeper into the dietary patterns and influences that could impact on development and prevention of the condition. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in adults, and it can cause pain and disability by affecting the hip, knees and spine in the middle-aged and elderly population. Currently there is no effective treatment other than pain relief and, ultimately, joint replacement.

Worried that eating too much garlic will make you smell like garlic? Not so! Here are some tips to avoid smelling like a garlic bulb! What's your favorite way to enjoy garlic, onion or leeks?

Photo courtesy of felipe_gabaldon on Flickr.


Give the Gift of Relaxation!

We're counting down the days to Christmas, and if you're looking for a fantastic last-minute holiday gift, why not stop by our Kansas City or Lawrence student massage clinic and pick up a $30 or $60 gift certificate.

A $30 gift certificate gives your loved one a 55-minute massage, and a $60 one will get them a relaxing 90-minute massage. This time of year, when we're rushing around, is there really a better gift than relaxation? We think not!


We Have a New Online Look!

Recently we announced that the school had a new name and a new Medical Assisting Program, and now we have a new look to go along with it! Be sure to go to the redesigned site at www.WellSpring.edu to check it out.

While there, be sure to view our new video gallery featuring students, graduates, faculty and staff, and details on fun student activities. Also don't miss our growing continuing education and community class listings, along with first-hand reviews of the school.

What do you think of the new look? We hope you like it!


6 Foods to Avoid This Holiday Season

While you're out at those holiday parties these next few weeks, be mindful that those special treats and snacks add up! AOL's fitness blog That's Fit recently put together a list of the six top worst holiday foods. While we all know that egg nog is high in calories and fat, a few of the other foods on the list may surprise you!

See the full list here and tell us, how do you stay trim this time of year? Also, be sure to also check out this list of healthy holiday dishes that you can make!

Photo courtesy of izik on Flickr.


Understanding How Acupuncture Relieves Pain

For years now, mainstream medicine has understood that acupuncture can help people relieve certain symptoms but they weren't sure as to how. (And we always want to know the "how!") That was until now.

Results of a study presented in late November at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America begin to paint a better picture of how acupuncture helps to relieve pain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers took pictures of the brain while 18 healthy patients experienced a pain stimulus with and without acupuncture to determine acupuncture's effect on how the brain processes pain. Researchers found that activation of the brain areas involved in pain perception were significantly reduced under acupuncture.

In a nutshell, researchers say that the findings suggest that acupuncture can help relieve pain. Have you tried acupuncture? What has your experience been with it? Did it help you to relieve pain?

Photo courtesy of Wonderlane on Flickr.


Peer Pressure Can Be a Good Thing

You normally hear of peer pressure being a negative thing, but according to new research, a little influence from your friends can be a good thing when your friends are healthy and fit. Published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, a study of 3610 Australian women found that physical activity and healthy eating behavior were both strongly affected by social norms.

Researchers even go so far to say that healthy behavior may be contagious, and that there is a need for investigation to see if there's a way to modify social norms as an intervention lever for promoting physical activity and healthy eating. This is one of the first studies to demonstrate the association of both social support and social norms with physical activity and eating behaviors.

Are your friends healthy? Tell us about it in the comments!

Photo courtesy of Gwennypics on Flickr.


Just 20 Minutes of Massage Helps Cancer Patients

Good news for those battling cancer themselves or those who have loved ones fighting cancer: Just 20 minutes of leg massage can reduce stress and anxiety, and boost the immune system, according to new research.

Published in the Journal of Anesthesia, researchers had 15
healthy volunteers rest on a bed for 20 minutes on the first day, and three days later the subjects received a standardized massage of the legs for 20 minutes. Twenty-nine cancer patients also received the same standardized massage of the legs.

The researchers in Japan found that stress and anxiety were reduced in both the control and cancer-patient groups. However, in the cancer patients, leg massage "significantly decreased" scores for both stress and anxiety. Researchers hypothesize that this reduction in stress improves immunity with an increase in the release of antimicrobial peptides, according to an article on the research in Massage Magazine.

And a better, stronger immune system means patients can better fight cancer. Another reason why massage isn't just a splurge -- it's a health necessity!


Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

It's the holiday season and you know what that means -- lots of treats! But instead of gaining weight this year, there are some little tips and tricks you can follow to enjoy yourself without adding pounds. That's Fit recently gave seven smart tips for surviving the holiday-eating season.

Eat "good mood" foods. Before a party eat lean meats, veggies and fiber-rich carbs to keep your belly food and your mood happy-go-lucky!

Keep your mouth busy while you cook. Sometimes it's hard to cook and not taste, taste, taste! But instead of eating the meal while you cook it, pop a piece of sugar-free gum. It'll keep your mouth busy!

Continue reading for more holiday noshing tips!

Photo courtesy of burningkarma on Flickr.


Massage Therapy Training Institute (MTTI) Changes Its Name to WellSpring School of Allied Health

Have you heard? MTTI is rebranding itself to WellSpring School of Allied Health!

So what's behind the change?

"The change is a reflection of the broader mission of the school," says Don Farquharson, the company's CEO, "which extends beyond massage therapy, to embrace career education for all allied health disciplines, including personal fitness training, medical assisting, nurse assisting and nutrition counseling."

Renaming the school to WellSpring School of Allied Health was a natural progression, says Farquharson.

"Over the course of the school's history, we've diversified into being the leader in wellness education in the Midwest," he says. "Massage therapy is still an important part of what we do here, but, today, it's in conjunction with fitness training, community wellness classes and a larger slice of the total professions defined under the Allied Health field. The new name speaks to our future...to where we're going."

WellSpring will launch a new Medical Assisting Program in early 2011, as further evidence of this broader posture. Applications are now being accepted for this selective program that blends state-of-the-art clinical and office-operations training with a more integrative and human-centered approach to medicine.

“Medical Assisting is one of the fastest growing professions in the health care field,” says Farquharson. “As medical delivery systems are transformed to reduce the cost of delivery and simultaneously accommodate millions of new patients who will be entering the system because of the new healthcare legislation, Medical Assistants will be in increasingly high demand to assume those front-line roles that will help extend the capabilities of the limited number of doctors and nurses that exist in the system today.”

Keep reading about MTTI's name change to WellSpring School of Allied Health.


The Benefits of Tai Chi

The ancient practice of Tai Chi has long been loved for it's mind-body connection. Similar to yoga or Pilates, Tai Chi is almost a moving meditation where your mind and body both benefit! And now there's new research to appreciate this form of activity. According to research by the Arthritis Foundation, Tai Chi participants show an improvement in pain, fatigue, stiffness and sense of well-being.

After eight weeks of regular Tai Chi, participants in the study self-reported less pain, fatigue and stiffness. In addition, those doing Tai Chi had improved physical performance when doing timed chair stands (which are a measure of lower extremity strength), gait speed (both normal and fast) and two measures of balance: a single leg stance and a reach test. Researchers believe Tai Chi may help people with all types of arthritis, including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Have you tried Tai Chi?

Photo courtesy of mikebaird on Flickr.


Happy Thanksgiving from WellSpring

On this holiday, we'd like to give thanks to you -- our alumni, clients, staff, faculty and network of wellness professionals who make the Kansas City and Lawrence area healthier and happier!

An abundant and happy Thanksgiving
to you and yours,

WellSpring School of Allied Health

Photo courtesy of *clairity* on Flickr.


Is Vitamin D a Cure-All?

Lots and lots of research has come out on vitamin D lately and it seems like it might just be the new wonder drug. From building strong bones to preventing asthma to weight-loss to even strengthening the immune system (is it a coincidence that we get more colds and flus in the colder months when there is less sunshine and daylight for us to enjoy without being totally bundled up?), it has such an important role in over all health.

The only natural way to get vitamin D is from the sun, but many researchers believe that the recommended daily dosage is far too low and that many of us are vitamin D deficient. Whether its from the sun or in a supplement, how do you get your vitamin D? And how much do you try to get a day?

Photo courtesy of Simon Hua on Flickr.


The Power of Intent and Emotion

We all know the common saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Well, that might not be so true. Check out the video below that shows how water molecules respond to different emotions and words.

It's pretty amazing--especially when you begin to think that we're made up of at least 60 percent water. It's also easy to see how this type of study can impact everything from the objects around us to our pets to even our food. See what you think! Does this change how you view the world and the words and emotions you'll express? Tell us about it in the comments!


Fit People Catch Fewer Colds

Working out delivers a bunch of health benefits such as improved mood, weight-loss, increased metabolism, prevention of chronic disease...the list goes on and on! But we have something new to add to that growing list: Warding off colds and flu! That's right, fit people people get sick less often!

Watch the below video to learn how and why, along with new information that scientists recently discovered about how viruses affect the body!

Can't see the video? Click here!


Upcoming Continuing Education Classes

Did you know that WellSpring offers a variety of continuing education classes? Check out these two upcoming classes that are sure to take your massage therapy practice to the next level!

Advanced Myofascial for the Legs, Knees & Feet
Do your clients have lower-body issues? Learn the advanced techniques that can give them relief. In this course you will learn how to incorporate advanced myofascial techniques into your massages that can improve your ability to work with issues that affect the lower body. Click here for more details!

Therapeutic Touch I: The Krieger/Kunz Approach
The Krieger/Kunz approach Therapeutic Touch (TT) is a non-invasive, holistic approach that supports the body's own natural healing resources. Through use of the hands, variations in the energy field are identified and a sense of balance is worked towards. Basic assumptions underlying the practice of TT, supporting theoretical frameworks and the process will be addressed in this TT workshop. Click here for more details!


Educated Personal Trainers in High Demand

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, what is the top fitness trend of 2011 according to fitness professionals? Properly educated and certified personal trainers!

This was the fourth year that the demand for trainers was at the top of the list in the annual survey, according to Club Industry magazine. Check out the rest of the list:

Top 10 List of Fitness Trends for 2011
1. Educated and experienced fitness professionals
2. Fitness programs for older adults
3. Strength training
4. Children and obesity
5. Personal training
6. Core training
7. Exercise and weight loss
8. Boot camp
9. Functional fitness
10. Physician referrals

If you're ready to become an educated and experienced fitness professional, check out WellSpring School of Allied Health's Fitness Training and Wellness Program!


Are Antibacterial Products Really Good for Us and the Environment?

Antimicrobial products are almost everywhere these days. From antibacterial hand soap to cleaning supplies to disposable wipes to clean your cart at the grocery store, antimicrobial properties are in so many things that we use daily. However, scientists are now asking: How safe are these products on ourselves and on our environment? And do they really work at keeping us safer and being less sick?

According to associate professor Rolf Halden, of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, the answer to these questions is, "No." Many antibacterial compounds have been found in our rivers, streams and drinking water (harming naturally occurring algae and other organisms), and hand washing with plain soap and water is as effective as antibacterial cleaning agents. Click here to learn more about antimicrobial products' effect on our bodies and environment.

Do you use antibacterial products?


Mixed Nutritional Messages

We all know that we should eat everything in moderation and throughout all of the different nutrition research over the years, one thing has always remained constant: an abundance of saturated fat in the diet isn't good for our overall health. And the government and its health-related agencies have been clear in their message to eat less and move more.

Despite this, Dairy Management, a group with an annual budget almost $140 million is pushing cheese sales and recently helped Dominoes Pizza put more cheese on its pizza and heavily market the change. This group receives several million dollars a year from the Agriculture Department, which appoints some of its board members, approves its marketing campaigns and major contracts and periodically reports to Congress on its work, according to the New York Times.

As most of us know, cheese is high in saturated fat...so while we're being told to not do one thing (eat saturated fat), we're heavily being marketed to actually do that one thing (eat more cheese). What do you think?

Photo courtesy of The Pizza Review on Flickr.


Can Massage Help You Quit Smoking?

We all know smoking is bad for your health, but we also know that quitting is really hard. While people try medications, and nicotine gum and patches to help them quit, researchers are studying a new treatment: massage.

According to new research published in the journal Addiction, smoking and anxiety disorders are linked, and massage therapy has been shown to lessen the anxiety that could be driving people to smoke.

The study, conducted by the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, found that more than a third of those studied met criteria for at least one anxiety diagnosis in their lifetime. Of the total 1,504 study participants, 455 had had a panic attack in the past, 199 had social anxiety disorder and 99 were diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.

More research needs to be done, but it makes sense that massage, which relaxes and destresses, would help people quit for good!


Understanding How the Brain Is Wired for Attention

Ever wonder why some people seem to be able to keep their attention focused on one thing for hours while someone else can't? The answer may lie in the brain, according to new research.

Scientists at the University of Utah uncovered a wiring diagram that shows how the brain pays attention to visual, cognitive, sensory and motor cues. The study is the first of its kind to show how the brain switches attention from one feature to the next, and researchers believe that the map will help to explain abnormalities in attention that can be seen in many brain disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder.

Want to read more? Check out the article on new brain research here!

Photo courtesy of BlatantNews.com on Flickr.


What Are You Doing With That Halloween Candy?

We hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween weekend! And now that the holiday is over, you may be stuck with a big bag of candy in your house (or at work), just tempting you to over indulge! But did you know that you can actually donate your candy to other causes thereby helping someone else out and removing temptation from yourself? Two organizations are collecting candy for the troops. Soldiers' Angels is one of them, and the other is Halloween Candy Buy-Back (organized usually by dentists) for Operation Gratitude.

Pretty cool, huh? What are you doing with your leftover candy this year?

Photo courtesy of spablab on Flickr.


Happiness Is a Benefit of Aging

Many of us dread getting another year older, but new research says that year by year, we actually become happier and more emotionally stable! Published online in the journal Psychology and Aging, the researchers found that as we grow older, we tend to become more emotionally stable. And that translates into longer, more productive lives that offer more benefits than problems.

The study's author Laura Carstensen was quoted in ScienceDaily as saying, "As people get older, they're more aware of mortality. So when they see or experience moments of wonderful things, that often comes with the realization that life is fragile and will come to an end. But that's a good thing. It's a signal of strong emotional health and balance."

Would you agree? Have you gotten happier and more emotionally stable with each birthday?

Photo courtesy of Patrick Doheny on Flickr.


Marathons: Heart-Healthy or Not?

With conflicting research on the impact of running a marathon on the heart, one recent study claims to set the record straight.

A team of researchers and runners from the Heart and Stroke Foundation used MRI data to see how marathoners' hearts were effected by miles and miles of running. And what did they find? The magnitude of abnormal heart segments was more widespread and significant in a group of less fit runners. During the marathon, these less fit runners had signs that the heart might be at greater risk of damage than that of runners who had better training or at least had better exercise capacity (VO2 max).

The bottom line? Without proper training, running 26.2 miles can damage your heart for a limited amount of time (researchers put recovery at three months). However, if you've gotten the OK from your doctor, train regularly, have been running for years, hydrate well and eat well, you're probably in the clear.


Wal-Mart to Buy and Sell More Local Produce

Wal-Mart recently announced that it will be buying and selling more local produce to help reduce its impact on the environment. While some are skeptical of Wal-Marts intentions, others say that because the chain is so big, it can actually help give small farmers a shot at big business. Wal-Mart is the world’s largest grocer, with one of the biggest food supply chains.

While not always the case, local produce is likely to be fresher and therefore contains fewer preservatives and chemicals than foods shipped from across the country. So one could argue that local food may also be healthier.


Pumpkin Is Delicious and Healthy

Think that pumpkins are just for carving? Heck no! Pumpkin is not only a sign of this Halloween season, but it's also extremely nutritious and healthy! Here are a few facts about this fall fruit:
  • Pumpkins are high in potassium, magnesium, panthothenic acid, beta carotene and other antioxidants with properties that can help improve immune function and reduce the risk for chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
  • Pumpkins are high in fiber.
  • One cup of fresh pumpkin has just 50 calories, while one cup of canned has 80 calories.
  • Pumpkin seeds contain essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and are an excellent plant-based source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Pumpkin seed oil is touted by many for its health properties, as it includes 60 to 90 percent unsaturated fats and is high in linoleic acid.
Read more about why pumpkin is a healthy pick, along with tasty recipes to include this nutritional power house in your diet! What's your favorite way to include pumpkin in your diet?

Photo courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr.


More Women Get Massages Than Men

This probably isn't news to most massage therapists out there, but according to recent research, more women than men are receiving massage therapy. In fact, 10 percent of U.S. men used massage in the last year, compared to 18 percent in 2009, according to the 14th annual consumer survey sponsored by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

This trend is paralleled by doctor visits. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, about 57 percent of men have visited a physician within the past year, compared with 74 percent of women. Researchers suspect that the economic downturn is probably to blame for some of these lower rates.

The moral of this story? When marketing, try to use more images of males to encourage them to come in. And in all marketing, remember to promote the benefits of taking care of yourself with proper health care, massage therapy and relaxation. Especially in times of high stress, massage therapy and proper health care is absolutely necessary--no matter what gender you are!


Is Your Job Making You Fat?

There are many causes for the obesity epidemic, but recent research points to the modern work day as one reason for expanding waistlines. According to a new study published in the early online edition of Preventive Medicine, office-workers have become less active over the last three decades and this decreased activity may partly explain the rise in obesity.

So how do we change this tide? Researchers suggest that to combat the inactivity and rise in obesity it would be best to integrate sport, work and transportation. For example, exercising in smaller bouts throughout the day rather than concentrating the effort into one long workout before or after work. Things like walking at break time and taking the stairs could have great benefits, researchers say.


WellSpring Graduates Featured in the Kansas City Star

A big congrats to WellSpring graduates Tammy Barton and Sheri Woxland who were recently featured in the business section of the Kansas City Star! Barton's and Woxland's growing business, At the Healing Place in Liberty, MO, offers a variety of services, including massage therapy, Reiki, reflexology, astrology, tarot readings and chakra balancing.

Barton is a 2004 graduate from WellSpring's 500-hour program in 2004 and is a part-time instructor. Woxland is a Midwest Institute of Natural Healing graduate, who completed her program at WellSpring. So awesome to see our graduates making such a name for themselves!

Read the full article on their massage therapy business here.


A Not So Biodegradable Happy Meal

We're all familiar with the McDonald's Happy Meal. You get the burger, the small fries, a drink and a toy that's usually highly coveted by kids. And, for a lot of children, a Happy Meal is a regular dinner or lunch. However, just what is in that meal?

The so-called Davies Happy Meal Project took a Happy Meal, left it unrefrigerated and photographed it over the course of six months. The verdict? The food didn't break down or decompose -- at all. A McDonald's spokesperson said that the work was "completely unsubstantiated" and something out of "the realm of urban legends."

What do you think? Click here to read more about the Happy Meal experiment.

Photo courtesy of jasonippolito on Flickr.


Massage Helps Pregnant Women

We've long been teaching massage for pregnancy and childbirth at WellSpring, but it's amazing to see that massage is benefiting much more than future mom's physical state. As reported in Massage Magazine, pregnant women diagnosed with major depression who received massage therapy from their significant others twice a week for 12 weeks had reduced depression at the end of the 12 weeks, along with lower levels of depression and cortisol in the postpartum period.

What are some of the other benefits of prenatal massage?
  • Tranquil relaxation and reduce stress.
  • Relief from muscle cramps, spasms and myofascial pain, especially in the lower back, neck, hips and legs.
  • Increase in blood and lymph circulation, which can reduce swelling.
  • Reduces stress on weight-bearing joints.
  • Improves outcome of labor and eases labor pain.
  • Enhances the pliability of skin and underlying tissues.
  • Provides support for the new mother with physical and emotional strains of mothering.
Interested in learning pregnancy massage techniques? Be sure to sign up for our upcoming Massage for Childbirth class that is open to the public and has no prerequisite to participate!


Dieting? Skip the Diet Soda

If you're trying to lose weight, you probably have swapped your regular soda for diet, right? After all, drinking diet soda seems like an easy way to reduce calories. But, according to research, that diet pop may be tricking your body and actually prompting you to eat more.

There's no for sure relationship between weight gain and diet soda, but the latest research from an article in MSNBC.com is pretty illuminating:

"In fact, two recent studies found that being a diet soda junkie could actually put you at a greater risk of weight gain. Normal weight people who drank 3 servings or more of diet soda a day—at least 21 weekly servings—were at almost double the risk for becoming overweight or obese after seven to eight years compared to people who skipped diet drinks, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. And people who consumed at least one daily serving of diet soda (versus none) were more likely to develop a high waist circumference, a condition linked with diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care in April 2009."

The message here? Diet soda isn't always a diet friendly choice. When you can, drink water! It's actually been shown to help you lose weight!

Photo courtesy of Yeah Im Kenny on Flickr.


Get Your Zzzs to Lose Weight

We all know how positively a good night's rest can make you feel. After all good sleep can help reduce stress, improve productivity and put that spring in your step. New research in the Annals of Internal Medicine has found that sleep is also a powerful ally in weight-loss.

According to the study, when dieters got a full night's sleep, they lost the same amount of weight as when they slept less. However - and this is a big however - when dieters got adequate sleep, more than half of the weight they lost was fat. When they cut back on their sleep, only one-fourth of their weight loss came from fat.
Dieters who got less sleep also reported to have more hunger.

Biologically, when sleep was restricted, dieters produced higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure. Bottom line? Dieting or not, get those Zzzs for optimal health! Click here to read about more the weight-loss and sleep study.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Photo courtesy of Joi on Flickr.


Stress Helps Fuel Cancer Cells

We all know that stress can have negative effects on the body, but just how negative is high stress on those undergoing cancer treatments? According to stress research in the journal Molecular Cancer Research, physical or psychological stress experienced one to two days before a cancer treatment can activate a stress-sensitive protein that can, in turn, sparks a series of events that allow cancer cells to survive treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Researchers recommend that cancer patients avoid and manage stress properly to ensure that their treatments are effective. And how does one reduce stress? There are a many of ways, including massage, yoga, meditation and aromatherapy, among others.

How do you manage stress?

Photo courtesy of Sara. Nel on Flickr.


A Natural Remedy for Cold Season

We all know that there's no cure for the common cold, but one simple at-home and natural remedy has been found to decrease upper-respiratory tract infections in cold suffers by a whopping 40 percent. That's a lot! So what is this miracle drug? The act of gargling salt water. Yep, that's it.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic recommend dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargling the solution for a few seconds before spitting it out. The concoction may not cure your cold, but it will reduce symptoms, researchers say!

Read about about this all-natural cold remedy.

Photo courtesy of sunshinecity on Flickr.


Does Yoga Make You Happier?

For years, exercise has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress. But when it comes to what type of exercise is best for getting those feel-good emotions going, yoga may reign supreme, according to a recent study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Researchers found an association between yoga postures, increased GABA levels and decreased anxiety. Low GABA levels are associated with depression and other widespread anxiety disorders, so having higher levels leads to improved mood. More research needs to be done, the study author says, although the finding suggests that the practice of yoga should be considered as a potential therapy for certain mental disorders.


Research Says Massage Benefits Aren't Just Skin Deep

Everyone knows that massages feel good. And although regular massage has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall wellness and mood, there isn't a lot of research to explain exactly what goes on inside the body. Until now!

A recent study published in the The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that massage decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. Subjects who received massages also had an increase in the number of lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that are part of the immune system.

Click here to read more research on the benefits of massage.


The Importance of Rest When Working Out

We've all heard the expression "No pain, no gain." But oh how wrong that saying is when it comes to working out. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal recently talked about exactly how and why rest is so essential to any one who exercises regularly--and especially for those who train for endurance events like triathlons and marathons. Bottom line, always listen to your body, cross train regularly, and when your trainer says slow down, do it! It's for your own good.


A Daily Affirmation

For anyone who needs me a pick-me-up today, check out this video a WellSpring graduate shared with us. It's cute, funny and makes you want to celebrate everything you have in life!

Do you have a daily affirmation? Share it with us in the comments!


Is Water the Way to Weight-Loss?

For years, fitness and health professionals have been telling people to drink more water. Not only is hydration key for the body functioning optimally, but also water helps "fill you up." But has there been any science behind the drink-more-water-lose-weight claim? Not until now.

New research shows that drinking just two eight-ounce glasses of water before meals can help people eat between 75-90 fewer calories at each meal. Over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before three meals a day lost five more pounds than those who did not increase their water intake. Read more of the water and weight-loss research here.

Will you drink more water now?


More Students Choosing Career Schools

The Lawrence-Journal World recently did a story on how more students aren't going to colleges and universities, instead they're turning to career schools! WellSpring was featured as part of the article for its programs in massage therapy and personal training.


Just How Harmful Are Hormones in Our Foods and Environment?

We have all heard how bad environmental hormones are for us, and how prolific they are in our foods, particularly in meat and dairy products. However a recent news report is pretty startling. According to the report: Female infants in China who have been fed formula have been growing breasts.

According to a Chinese newspaper, medical tests done on the babies between four and 15 months old showed estrogen levels as high as what's normally seen in adult women. The jury is still out as to exactly what--it may be many causes--is causing the spike, but it's definitely cause for concern.

Read the full article here. And tell us, what do you think?


Upcoming Commuity Classes at WellSpring

It's hot outside, so why not head inside and learn with WellSpring? Our upcoming community classes are sure to empower you to take charge of your wellbeing. From getting fit at any age to learning the principles of Feng Shui, it's cool to be at WellSpring!

Click here to read more about our upcoming community wellness classes!


The Most Valuable Degrees Might Surprise You

Yahoo recently introduced a list of some of the most valuable college degrees. While some on the list aren't surprising (No. 1 is bachelor's degree in business administration), some of them really are.

Also, as the massage and fitness industries both become more allied with the medical field, we're happy to see that careers in medical assisting and nursing are also topping the list!

See the full most valuable college degree list here.


When Did Healers Get Such a Bad Rap?

What is a healer anyway? Is he or she a spiritual person? A highly intuitive person? A doctor? An old soul? Someone who helps others?

According to an article from Massage Today, being a "healer" can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and not always the most positive of meanings. What do you think a healer is? What does that person do?


Wonder What It's Like to Get Personal Training Certified? Follow Jake!

If you've ever considered getting a personal training certification or wondered what fitness trainers have to go through to be qualified to train, we have a site for you! NASM recently began a blog called The Jake Project that follows a young aspiring trainer, Jake, as he begins his quest to become a NASM-certified personal trainer.

The site aims to help others learn along with Jake--his trials, tribulations and successes. NASM also wants working trainers to help him through the process, offering tips, techniques and advice on how to become successful, pass the exam and learn how to be an amazing personal trainer! We kinda think he should come to school at WellSpring...


Have You Heard of Kinesio Taping?

I've heard a lot more about Kinesio Taping lately, but instead of it being just used by athletic trainers and physical therapists, massage therapists are starting to utilize it as well.

Check out this recent article from Massage Magazine that explains what Kinesio Taping is, how it might work (although researchers aren't exactly sure why, which is fascinating) and how it's being used by massage therapists!

Read more about Kinesio Taping.


Study Shows Reduced-Fat Diets Cut Cancer in People—and Dogs

One recent nutrition study has a clear finding: When humans and dogs eat fewer Omega-6 fatty acids (such as corn oil, vegetable oil and grain-fed red meat) and cut calories their risk of cancer declines. In fact, as many as 1 out of 3 cancer deaths in humans and dogs could be prevented with these two steps, researchers say.

So why are Omega-6s part of the problem? According to the research, too much Omega-6 fatty acid can lead to inflammation, which creates an environment conducive to cancer in dogs and people. Scientists suggested reducing sugar intake, too, as excess sugar can also lead to obesity and fuel cancer cells. Click here to read more about this unique health study.


Activity May Not Play a Role in Childhood Obesity?

As even the First Lady is trying to get kids to move more and eat better, one study is saying that one of those initiatives just won't help solve obesity. Yep, believe it or not, researchers from the EarlyBird Diabetes Study found that physical activity has little if any role to play in the childhood obesity epidemic.

In fact, in the study, physical activity had no impact on weight change. However, weight clearly led to less activity.
The study states that "The implications are profound for public health policy, because the physical activity of children (crucial to their fitness and well-being) may never improve unless the burgeoning levels of childhood obesity are first checked. If this cannot be achieved through physical activity, the focus has to be on what--and how much--children consume."

Of course being active has a slew of health benefits associated with it, but this is food (pun intended) for thought for those hoping to reverse the obesity trend, isn't it?