Research: Increased Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk

A few months ago, we pondered if vitamin D was a cure-all and now new research is strengthening the validity of that question. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha recently stated that, based on their research, markedly higher intake of vitamin D is needed to reach blood levels that can prevent or markedly cut the incidence of breast cancer and several other major diseases than had been originally thought. The findings were published in the journal Anticancer Research.

Researchers found that adult daily intake of vitamin D in the range of 4,000 to 8,000 IU are needed to reduce by about half the risk of several diseases, including breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. Right now the recommended minimum intake of vitamin D is 600 IU a day. While these levels are higher than traditional intakes, they are in a range deemed safe for daily use, according to a December 2010 report from the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. However, always consult your doctor when adding any new supplement to your diet.

Are you surprised by this vitamin D news? Will you try to up your intake?

Photo courtesy of colindunn on Flickr.


The Wednesday Sun Features WellSpring's New Medical Assisting Program

The Wednesday Sun newspaper recently featured a feature explaining WellSpring School of Allied Health's new name, direction and Medical Assisting Program that is set to launch this spring. The article included quotes from WellSpring President and CEO Don Farquharson, Medical Assistant (MA) Program Director Director Sheryl Max and Massage Instructor and MA student BranDee Darnell.

To read the full article, which includes details on the school's focus on health and wellness, and how the new MA program differs from other programs in the area, click here!


Featured Massage CE: Core Techniques with Kevin Deal

Join instructor Kevin Deal for this workshop that is a must for clinical massage therapists or others wanting to improve their techniques to address low back issues or other structural distortions of the spine. In Core Techniques, you will learn techniques for the muscles of the core: the diaphragm, psoas, iliacus and quadratus lumborum. You will also learn how to work through the abdomen to address the structural muscles of the lower back. Myofascial release will be demonstrated, too, enabling you to work painlessly through the deeper viscera.

Core Techniques
Course Cost: $204
NCBTMB Approved 12 CEs
Prerequisite: Basic Swedish Massage

Click here to register!


Diet Soda May Raise Risk of Stroke

Researchers have already found that drinking diet soda can actually be bad for your weight-loss efforts, and now there's another reason to avoid the fake-sugar cola: stroke risk. According to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2011, those who drink diet soda instead of the sugar variety have a much higher risk of vascular events compared to those who don't drink the carbonated stuff.

Researchers looked at 2,564 people and found that people who drank diet soda daily had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events than those who didn't drink it. Researchers accounted for participants' age, sex, race or ethnicity, smoking status, exercise, alcohol consumption and daily caloric intake in the study. Scientists didn't record the types of diet and regular drinks consumed, so research is needed on the possible role variations among brands or changes over time in coloring and sweeteners might have played.


'TLC' an Effective Medicine

No, we're not talking "tender loving care." In the medical community, TLC stands for "therapeutic lifestyle changes," such as getting more exercise, time in nature or helping others. And the benefits of TLC are huge. According to a new paper published by the American Psychological Association, TLC can be as effective as drugs or counseling to treat an array of mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety.

Other TLCs include nutrition and diet, relationships, recreation, relaxation and stress management (including massage!), and religious or spiritual affiliations. According to research reviewed in the paper, medical professionals are recommended to learn more about the benefits of TLCs, and devote more time to foster patients' TLCs.
The research also recognizes that encouraging widespread adoption of therapeutic lifestyles by the public is likely to require wide-scale measures encompassing educational, mental, and public health systems, as well as political leadership.

What TLCs make you feel better?

Photo courtesy of OliBac on Flickr.


Learn Massage for People Living with Cancer With the Renowned Gayle MacDonald

Did you know that comfort-oriented massage or touch can be administered to people with cancer regardless of the severity of their condition? It's true, massage therapy can greatly help people living with cancer to feel better, and WellSpring School of Allied Health is bringing in expert Gayle MacDonald (pictured right) to help teach massage therapists how to do just that.

This continuing education class will train touch therapists in the basics of oncology massage. The experience derived from this training will create new-found confidence in bodyworkers about working with clients, particularly private-practice clients, who have cancer or are recovering from it. Therapists who focus on hospice and hospital work will also find this course to be valuable for their special needs patients.

Gayle MacDonald, M.S., L.M.T., is the author of Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People with Cancer (Findhorn Press) and Massage for the Hospital Patient and Medically Frail Client (Lippincott Williams and Wilkin.) Her expertise comes from more than 10 years of work with oncology patients at Oregon Health and Science University. She has also supervised massage students and therapists on the oncology unit, in chemo infusion, radiation oncology and the bone marrow transplant unit.

Massage for People Living with Cancer
Date: Friday-Sunday, March 18-20
Time: Saturday, 9 am to 6 pm
Cost: $490
NCBTMB Hours: 24
Prereq: At least 70 percent completed of a massage diploma program.

Click here to register!


Chocolate Is a Super Fruit

Happy Valentine's Day! While chocolate and flowers are a popular gift this time of year, here's one reason why indulging in a piece or two of chocolate can actually be super good for you!

New research published in the Chemistry Central Journal found that chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and contains more polyphenols and flavanols than fruit juice. In fact, when comparing the antioxidant activity in cocoa powder and fruit powders, researchers found that, gram per gram, there was more antioxidant capacity, and a greater total flavanol content, in cocoa powder. Just remember to grab the dark stuff, as it has the most nutritional bang for your bite!

Photo courtesy of EverJean on Flickr.


How to Really Feel the Love This Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and there's new research on how to best celebrate. While some one-on-one quality time with your partner is always good, researchers say that couples who go out with other couples are more likely to have happy and satisfying romantic relationships.

The study, "When Harry and Sally met Dick and Jane: Experimentally creating closeness between couples," was recently published in Personal Relationships, and looked at 60 dating couples. Each couple was paired with another couple and given a set of questions to discuss as a group. Half of the groups were given high-disclosure questions intended to spark intense discussion, while the other half were given small-talk questions that focused on everyday, unemotional activities.

The result? Those couples who were placed in the "fast friends" group felt closer to the couples they interacted with, and were more likely actually to meet up with them again during the following month. Researchers also learned that these same couples felt that this friendship put a spark in their own relationships, and they felt much closer to their romantic partners.

If you're unsure of what to do this Monday, why not schedule a double or triple date?

Photo courtesy of Esparta on Flickr.


Learn Therapeutic Touch I: The Krieger/Kunz Approach

We all know how powerful touch can be. The Krieger/Kunz approach Therapeutic Touch 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. Therapeutic Touch can be used to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety and pain, and promote healing for self and others.

If you'd like to learn more about the Krieger/Kunz Approach and how it can help your massage practice (the only requirement is that you've taken basic Swedish massage), click here for more information on this introductory workshop to Therapeutic Touch.


Infant Massage Lessens Risk of Neonatal Jaundice

We already know how powerful massage can be for pregnant women and for children suffering from cancer, but now new research says that massage can help newborns lessen the risk of getting neonatal jaundice. Published in The Tohuku Journal of Experimental Medicine, the controlled experiment found that massage therapy lessens neonatal jaundice in full-term newborn infants.

Researchers say the study suggests that baby massage at an early stage after birth could reduce neonatal bilirubin levels, which is what creates the yellow skin color that is a sign of jaundice. Read more about this infant massage research here!

Photo courtesy of Brad.K on Flickr.


Now Offering Cranio 2

If you're a massage therapist and are looking to take your knowledge of Craniosacral Therapy to the next level, you have to take WellSpring's CE class Cranio 2.

Offered on Tuesdays in March, in this class you will learn about dysfunctions of the sphenoid and hard palate and a continuation of the protocol taught in Cranio level 1. You will also learn about treating a client intraorally and the ethics surrounding this type of treatment.

For more information including class requirements, cost and register, click here to learn more about Cranio 2!


Another Reason to Hit the Hay: Sleep Helps Memory

If you're someone who skimps on sleep to get more done in a day, you should know that your memory may be paying the price. According to new research published in The Journal of Neuroscience, people remember important information better after getting a good night's sleep.

In fact, not only did sleep help people remember facts from the day better, but deep restorative sleep, helped people in the study to be sort out the really important information from the rest. Researchers say the new findings help explain why you are more likely to remember a conversation about impending road construction than chitchat about yesterday's weather.

This is just another reason to be sure to hit the hay early! How many hours of sleep do you get a night?