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.