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.