Stress Killer, Massage Healer

One way in which frequent massage can improve our quality of life is by alleviating stress. Experts say most disease is stress-related, and nothing ages us faster–inside or out–than the effects of stress. As stress-related diseases continue to claim more lives every year, the increasingly deadly role stress plays in modern-day life is painfully clear.

Massage is a great way to take charge and reverse the situation. Mary Beth Braun and Stephanie Simonson, authors of Introduction to Massage Therapy (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2007), explain the benefits of massage therapy in the simplest of terms: “Healing input influences healing output.” They note that frequent massage can reduce the accumulation of stress and improve overall health. “The benefits of massage are cumulative,” they write.

Not happy with your body?

Do you think that you need to loose a few pounds, or tone your body before your schedule your massage?

Some people have a hard time even considering massage because they are so unhappy with their body. Poor body image can be extremely damaging. While it’s hard to imagine that taking your clothes off and lying on a massage table will make the situation any better, massage therapy can do wonders to bring an individual back into body awareness. Bodywork can help mend the body-mind chasm that is created through self-hate, bringing the two pieces back together in a peaceful, healthy union.

Massage therapists and bodyworkers not only have advanced knowledge of tissues and structure, they also have a great appreciation for the human body as a whole, no matter its shape or size.

AromaTherapy and Massage

How does AromaTherapy work?

The scientific explanation suggests that the essential oil’s molecules, when inhaled, lock onto receptor cells at the back of the nose, sending an electrochemical message to the brain’s limbic system. This message appears to trigger memory and emotional responses, causing messages to be sent to other parts of the brain and body. “In this way,” says aromatherapist Danila Mansfield, “the production of euphoric, relaxing, sedative, or stimulating neurochemicals is stimulated.”

Judith Fitzsimmons and Paula Bousquet, authors of Aromatherapy Through the Seasons, say the use of essential oils creates a multifaceted effect: “The real beauty of aromatherapy is that it works on a cellular and physical level and also in the emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic areas of your life.”

Incorporating AromaTherapy with your massage therapy session can assist you in reaching a deeper level of relaxation. Tell your therapist if you would like to try AromaTherapy at your next appointment.

Here comes the Sun!

I think that the information contained in the article below is valuable.

The Right Sunscreen
Cut through the hype and learn what works
Jason Barbaria
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States each year. There are more than 2,000 over-the-counter sunscreen formulas on the market today. How can you tell which sunscreens are the safest, most effective, and represent the best value for your money? In most cases, the answer comes down to the difference between the two types of filtering ingredients.

Chemical or Physical?The UV radiation in sunlight consists of UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C rays. UV-A and UV-B are both responsible for photoaging, skin cancer, sunburn, tanning, and wrinkling. UV-C is not a factor in skin health, as it is absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere and does not reach us in significant amounts. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UV-A and UV-B. This protection can work in one of two ways: chemical or physical.

CHEMICAL UV FILTERS-Work by absorbing UV radiation.
-Require application 30 minutes before sun exposure.
-Provide partial protection from UV spectrum.
-May irritate the skin and eyes.
-Not regulated for safety by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA); some may even be carcinogenic.
-Not photostable (exposure to sunlight degrades effectiveness).
-Avobenzone is the most commonly used chemical filter ingredient.

PHYSICAL UV FILTERS-Work by reflecting UV radiation.
-Start protecting immediately upon use.
-Provide full broad-spectrum protection.
-Non-irritating to skin and eyes.
-Safe, as particles do not penetrate the skin.
-Highly photostable (exposure to sunlight does not change effectiveness).

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the most commonly used physical filter ingredients. Clothing and shade structures also count as physical filters.

How Stable Is It?One of the most important factors in the effectiveness of a sunscreen formula is also one of the least known to the general public. Photostability is an ingredient’s ability to remain effective after exposure to sunlight. Many people are aware that this is an issue for numerous skin care ingredients, but may be surprised to learn that some active ingredients in sunscreen–a product whose sole purpose involves being exposed to sunlight–are not photostable. In addition, the FDA’s new rules do not require sunscreen ingredients to be tested for photostability. Yet, many consumers expect that their sunscreen will protect them for longer than one hour.
Physical filters such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are photostable. Studies have shown that these ingredients suffer no degradation after more than two hours of sun exposure. However, the chemical filter avobenzone is not at all photostable, and degrades almost completely in less than one hour. Even worse, avobenzone also degrades on contact with other UV filters such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, and with metal ions such as iron oxide, which is commonly found in makeup. This goes a long way toward explaining why many consumers experience sunburn even after applying sunscreen as directed.

Health ConcernsEffectiveness is not the only thing to consider in any product being applied to the face or body. Significant health concerns have also been raised about many sunscreen ingredients. Here are some issues to consider.
Avobenzone has been found to generate free radicals beyond acceptable safety levels after sitting on the skin for just one hour, and children and pregnant women have been advised not to use products containing it.
Octocrylene, which is known to act as an endocrine disrupter, is used in many sunscreens as a stabilizer. It can also cause skin irritation. According to the Archives of Dermatology, “Octocrylene appears to be a strong allergen leading to contact dermatitis in children and mostly photoallergic contact dermatitis in adults.”
Chemical UV filters can also have harmful effects on the environment. Octocrylene does not seem to be effectively contained in wastewater treatment plants, and studies in Switzerland have indicated that it accumulates in fish. Oxybenzone, a chemical UV-B filter often used in combination with avobenzone, has been found to negatively impact reef ecosystems and biodiversity.
Physical UV filters, in contrast, have an excellent safety profile. The FDA has long considered zinc oxide to be a safe ingredient for both external use and as a food additive, even in infant formula.
Considering all these factors, physical UV blockers represent the best choice overall. The main challenge in getting consumers to use sunscreens based on physical filters is purely cosmetic: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide tend to feel thick and greasy, and are visible on the skin, leaving a white residue. However, new advances mean there are now an increasing number of sunscreens that use these ingredients in formulations that allow for clear application.
When evaluating a sunscreen, the most important considerations should be safety and effectiveness. Carefully examine the ingredients and make use of all available information to make the best choices for yourself and your family.

Jason Barbaria is director of marketing at Dermagenics, a skin care line that includes sunscreen, cleansers, and moisturizers.