Self Massage

self massage     Self massage can be a great asset to many types of individuals.  I started performing self massage on myself nearly a year ago.  At first I performed it quite regularly and now only as needed.  It can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.  The reason why I originally began it was for reproductive health, however it is also excellent for digestive health as well.

     By massaging your abdomen you increase blood circulation in the organs beneath.  There are different resources online for helping someone perform massage on themselves.  I usually just lay on my back and massage in circular motion all around the abdomen, focusing on the areas that contain the uterus and ovaries.

I also perform a femoral artery massage, which basically backs up blood from the femoral artery into the abdominal cavity organs including the uterus and ovaries.  I have successfully used both of these methods to improve menstrual health and normalize the length of the menstrual cycle.

     There are certain guidelines that should be followed, including do not massage if you may be pregnant because it could induce a miscarriage, or during menstruation as it will increase blood flow.  A good schedule to start with is the day after ovulation until menstruation begins if pregnancy is not possible.  Also check with your Doctor before beginning this if you have any cystic disorders as you do not want to cause anything to rupture.

     Femoral and abdominal massage may also be useful for digestive health, as you can also increase blood flow to the digestive organs.  Thus this practice is helpful for both men and women.  When focusing on digestion, you typically work on the same areas because they also contain the lower digestive tract, however in addition also include the upper quadrants to include the stomach,  liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

     Many resources can be found online to guide you in performing self abdominal massage.  To perform femoral artery massage I found this youtube video to be quite helpful.  If you have any questions or comments on the topic please leave them below.  I highly suggest giving it a try for a few weeks and seeing if you notice any difference. 





yoga     Yoga is something I have recently begun practicing over the past few months.  And by practicing I mean a free class once a week, and then on my own during the week.  I took a beginners yoga class about 3 years ago in college and thoroughly enjoyed it, but was never able to take it again after because it can be expensive.  Finding free classes has been a real life changer.  If you are looking for free classes I have three places that I know of that you may be able to find near you as well.  The first is Lululemon which offers a free yoga class once a week.  Next I utilize Athleta which posts various classes on their online schedule and most of the time yoga is available.  Lastly, and even more unlikely resource is the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance office which offers a variety of exercise classes and yoga is a frequent one.

     So far I have noticed in a short time I have made quite a bit of progress in a few areas thanks to yoga.  I was previously jogging a few times a week (which I still also do) however I did not notice any of these changes until after I begun practicing yoga.  The two most obvious changes are in muscular development and flexibility.  These both surprised me because I took Tae Kwon Do as a young adult and worked very hard to build muscle and flexibility but was never able to achieve so much in so little time and with only 1 real class a week!  I also thought that my running I was building core muscle but let me tell you yoga will show you how much muscle you have yet to develop, the same goes for flexibility.

     Besides the physical changes I have seen, I have also noticed mental changes too.  I crave yoga.  I know that Saturday mornings are my therapy.  There is something so beautiful about practicing and ancient body art that is quite therapeutic.  The breathing exercises, listening to your body, quiet time and meditation if you are so inclined are wonderful for calming your mind, and bringing your life back into focus.  Also seeing yourself progress physically brings its own sense of accomplishment that none can rival.  There are also many scholarly research sources that demonstrate the benefits of yoga.

     It is shown to be good for anxiety and depression and also for improving the digestion system.  Although I could not find any scholarly articles stating its usefulness for balancing womens hormones, it is traditionally used for this.  In the same way that yoga stimulates the digestive system it is also thought to stimulate the reproductive system as well and encourage core tone, increased blood flow to the reproductive organs, and just the other day I was in quite a rather odd pose and the instructor mentioned that it was supposed to stimulate the thyroid gland.  Overall I highly recommend yoga for men and women of all ages.  Perhaps I will post a photo of myself in the weeks/months to come as I work on perfecting my inversions!  Have any of you anything to share about your experience with yoga?



Prenatals When You're Not Pregnant

     When most women think of a prenatal vitamin they think of a prescription from a Doctor. after finding out that they are pregnant.  This is not how it should be.  All woman of a childbearing age should take a prenatal whether intending to conceive or not. You do not need to wait for a prescription from a Doctor after finding out that you are already pregnant nor should you.  First of all you can buy your own without a Doctor that are tailored to your specific needs and not just a generic product that he prescribes to all of his expecting patients.

     You can find a much better supplement with a little research of your own. You can find something that is vegan, soy and gluten-free, and just has a better all around nutrient value than a prescriptive brand.  The brand that I use is called Super Nutrition Simply One Prenatal.  You can find it on one of my favorite sites: Vitacost.  It is hypoallergenic ( free of soy, gluten, yeast, shellfish, etc) and because it is vegan and whole food based, it is much easier to digest.  There are many others out there that as well for you to choose from.

     So why should all women of a childbearing age take a prenatal?  When most people think of a prenatal vitamin they think of Folic Acid, which is correct because it is essential for a healthy pregnancy.  What most people don’t realize is that Folic Acid is most essential in the first four weeks following conception to prevent neural tube development defects.  Most women do not even know they are pregnant then and by the time they receive a prescription the time of development when it is most vital to have Folic Acid has ended.  So, all women of childbearing age with even a slight possibility of becoming pregnant should be taking a prenatal just to be safe.

     Even if you do not going to conceive, Prenatals have higher supplement doses that an average multivitamin because pregnant women have higher nutritional needs.  They are very safe for a non-pregnant woman and many times someone can be nutrient deficient even if they are taking the RDA.  Everybody is different and some people require more than the RDA and unless you are getting your mineral and vitamin levels tested and having a special compound made specifically for you, a prenatal is a great way to “cover all the bases”.  The worst that can happen is you have brighter skin, stronger nails, shinier hair, and an improved your immune system.  And that doesn’t sound so bad.