Monday, February 24, 2020

It's Better to Smoke (Say What?)

Yup... I said it. (I have a lot of explaining to do.)

The short answer - Vaping is FAR worse.

Cigarettes are old news. We’ve grown numb to warnings. But, being numb doesn’t change facts. Despite how you dress up packaging - cute dispensers, making it flavorful, discrete - inhaling high levels of nicotine can destroy stem cells that turn to neurons - meaning, the brain can be damaged - especially young developing brains.

So, okay, let’s NOT talk about addictive and toxic nicotine. (Sans the caveat that NO amount of nicotine is safe. It raises blood pressure and spikes adrenaline, which increases heart rate and the likelihood of having a heart attack.) Let’s also NOT talk about how vaping can cause gum disease, bad breath, tooth loss, the loss of ability to taste thanks to the thick vape coating that ends up on the tongue... (sexy huh?) or how vaping crashes energy similar to caffeine...

Let’s talk about CROWD SURFING at a concert. 

Yup! Crowd surfing. The music is jamming. The crowd jubilant. So much so, you’re compelled to stage dive into a sea of outstretched hands. Caught mid-flight, you float atop strangers, feeling safe and supported, oddly peaceful, moving to the rhythm of dance and drumbeat. The wave moves you to where you’re safely dismounted, placed upright on your feet, no worse for wear. 

If not for the hands shuttling you, you might have fallen to the floor beneath the crowd. The danger of stomping feet, entanglement of legs and limbs, the inability to get up, or out, could quickly become a health hazard. It’s fun while it’s fun, but scary when it goes wrong. 

So how does crowd surfing fit into this vaping topic?

Human Cilia. 

Cilia are the little ‘hairs’ that line the inside of your respiratory tract. These hair-like projections keep airway passages clean by removing harmful bacteria and other foreign particles. Moving with rhythmic waves, cilia transport mucus and dirt out and away from our airways, keeping it clear to allow us to breathe easily and without irritation. Whatever shouldn’t be in our lungs, gets ‘crowd surfed’ - or transported via a cilia wave - out of our bodies. 

Chemicals in e-cigarettes/vape change and weaken cilia function.

This means, crowd surfers get dropped. A pile of people on the floor creates a dangerous situation. So does a pile-up of dust, mucus and other foreign waste - which is what happens when the crowd surfing hands in our respiratory tract, aka cilia, dysfunction. 

If waste is not removed, our immune system is put at risk. We get colds easier. Lung related issues increase, so much so, medical intervention is required. Hence, the number of deaths and hospitalizations due to vaping are on the rise. 

Quite literally, the ‘hands’ of our immune system are being tied. 

This next observation, is my personal opinion. (To add this disclaimer, I am a Massage Therapist, not a Doctor.) I have worked on several clients prior to their vaping habit, and continued after they took up vaping to ‘quit’ their smoking habit. What I began to notice, was a ‘flattening’ of their thoracic region. 

The rib cage, the bony frame formed by the ribs around the chest, typically presents with the shape of a domed bird cage, or simply described, an ‘oval.‘ However, on the clients that switched to vape, their breastbone and chest appeared to sink. Yes, they were overall thinner, but it was beyond just weight, it was notably bone structure as well. 

Upon researching, I learned one of the side effects of vaping is loss of breath or tight lungs. 


This ties in with what I’ve been witnessing. 

This is my theory:

If the lungs are compromised and do not fully inflate, the rib cage and correlating muscles, the intercostals and diaphragm for example, will ‘dumb down’ to meet the lesser demand. Not expanding and lifting to its fullest potential, just like any under-used muscle, will cause tissue/structure to lose optimal function. (You don’t use it, you lose it.)

When the ribcage fails to expand and lift fully, the space within - the thoracic space that ‘houses’ the lungs - becomes reduced. Repetitive action, or in this case inaction, alters the tissue and framework to become smaller/flatter/less mobile.What’s worse, this issue cyclically compounds each other. Less and less lung inflation, will cause less and less thoracic expansion. Less and less thoracic expansion, will cause less lung inflation - breath, after breath, after breath - which lends to the ‘tight lung’ sensation

It is clear how reduced ribcage mobility translates into breathing issues, but what about how it translates into ANXIETY issues! (This is where my favorite obsession comes in - Psychoneuroimmunology, a.k.a. the Mind/Body/Immune System Connection.) 

As I’ve described in previous posts, there are emotional/mental sensations connected to particular body parts. I.E. Smiling brings happy, joyful sensations, and a frown brings sad, and vice versa.

Postural patterns send messages and signals to the brain. 

Guess what messages your ribcage sends?

A full ‘rooster’ chest lends to confidence and empowerment, and a constricted, shallow ribcage lends to anxiety and panic sensations. 

To me, this sheds a blaring light on the association between anxiety and panic disorders, and vaping. Talk about a double edged sword. 

and vice versa

A conundrum for sure. 

A decade ago, teen smoking was in a 20-year decline. Vaping arrived, and we now have more than a million teenagers, many of whom might never have picked up a standard cigarette, addicted to nicotine. 

It's been said that it’s harder to quit vaping than it is to quit cigarettes, which explains the fact that the FDA declared the vape situation as an “addiction crisis.” Withdrawal symptoms: anxiety, irritability, fatigue, intense cravings, lack of concentration, inability to feel pleasure, and headaches, give insight to the studies that show, people are LESS motivated to quit vaping.

Sheesh! When I said, it's better to smoke... Of course, DON’T DO EITHER! 

But if you smoke, I absolutely would NOT suggest switching to vape as some sort of ‘better’ option. We’re in the midst of a twisted, broad, population-based experiment, in which the full scope of issues is yet to be revealed.



Saturday, July 20, 2019

Salt Your Watermelon!

A mouthwatering hydration suggestion during this Extreme Heat 

Salt your watermelon!

Can I just say YUM!!

My mother prompted me to try this. Truly I thought she ruined a perfectly good slice of watermelon ~ that is until I bit into heaven! Talk about an explosion of flavors. 

Adding salt took the sweet, sour and bitter usual, and morphed it into monumental sweetness. (Apparently salt knocks down any bitterness.) 

This has become a staple in my house. With today’s dangerously high heat index, I cannot think of a more yummy way to stay hydrated. 

In case you need more reasons to try this tasty treat:

1 cup of watermelon offers many nutrients, including Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin B1, B5, and B6  

Even though watermelon has a high water content, fluids need the presence of sodium to cause water to be absorbed into the cells of the body. Natural salts - Celtic Sea Salt and Himalayan Salt - are loaded with mineral nutrition that the body needs. (Stay away from iodized or bleached processed salt.) (Of course, keep your personal health requirements in mind. If you have high blood pressure, this may not be the treat for you.) 

Salted watermelon is actually a great post-workout snack. 

Kids may fight you when it comes to drinking water to stay hydrated... But they won’t when it comes to eating salted watermelon! 

(Ok... maybe they’ll still fight... but this time it will be for another piece!)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Are You Dehydrated?

1st Obvious Signs: You’re thirsty, your tongue, mouth and lips are dry. You have a headache, or are lightheaded, dizzy, even weak and lethargic. Your urine is dark.

The adverse effects and symptoms only gets worse from here...

Focusing on tasks become difficult. Concentration and alertness wain, mood is effected due to fatigue and confusion. That fatigue and confusion impairs physical performance - further reducing motivation and endurance. To add to all this, your body temperature increases. 

Health consequences to dehydration are of particular concern for the elderly and very young. 

When it comes to metabolic processing, balancing electrolytes, regulating temperature, and the ability to lubricate internal organs and joints - making sure we are well hydrated is a big deal!

There is much to factor in: environmental conditions, your level of physical activity, dietary intake, age. Think input verses output. 

🍷🍸🍹Alcohol and Caffeine Increase Water Loss 🍺🍻

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Your Stress Affects Your Children

Many years ago, I listened to my Professor explain that the constitution of a child, at the very moment of conception, was determined by the health and well-being of the parents. Like a recipe that starts with quality ingredients, that precious embryo was best served by parents that were mentally, emotionally, and physically well. 

The subject was initially broached concerning drugs, alcohol, and/or poor diet - but as the Professor continued, it became clear the moment of conception went far beyond the obvious... 

Today, there is plenty of evidence, research and studies to back up what might have been controversial 27+ years ago. (yeesh ... I am outing my age... )
How Dad’s Stresses Get Passed Along to Offspring explains intercellular communication passing paternal experiences to their children. 

A stressed-out and traumatized father can leave scars in his children. New research suggests this happens because sperm “learn” paternal experiences via a mysterious mode of intercellular communication in which small blebs break off one cell and fuse with another.”
It’s not just the Dad’s... 

"It is now clear that environmental effects on fetal development are important with respect to emotional, behavioural and cognitive outcomes too." 

Bottom line - >  Your stress affects your children - from day one. 

Make sure to take care of all aspects of YOU. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Dr.'s Writing Prescriptions for Art!

"We've been fostering a culture that's popping pills and Prozac, when what we should be doing is more prevention and perspiration." - British Health Secretary, Matt Hancock

I could not agree more!! Creativity, Art, Music, Dance, Singing... and form of authentic expression is essential for health and well-being. Mental, emotional AND physical. (Physical, because given that stress is the #1 modern killer, we need to be proactive. If we wait until we have pain, it's too late. Any method you have that reduces stress, is a step towards positivity.)

How perfect is this!! -> British Doctors May Soon Prescribe Art, Music, Dance, Singing Lessons

Monday, February 18, 2019

Lift Heavy Boxes with Your Brain

Before setting out to lift a heavy box, a piece of equipment, etc., lift it with your brain. Size it up and ask yourself if lifting this object by yourself is worth an aching back. 
If you decide you can manage a heavy object by yourself, follow these back saving guidelines:

1.  Stand as close to the object as possible. 
2.  Bend your knees (don't bend your waist). 
3.  Concentrate on lifting with your thigh muscles (not your back muscles). If your thigh muscles aren't up to the job, get someone to help you lift the thing. 
4.  While you're lifting, keep the object as close to your body as possible. 
5.  Don't twist your waist while you're carrying the object; if you must turn, turn with your feet. 

Remember that pushing a heavy object is easier on your back than pulling.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q: How's the Water?

A: Wet.

Q: How do you make Holy water?
A: You boil the Hell out of it.

Q: What did the ocean say to the other ocean?
A: Nothing, they just waved.

Q: What do you call an old Snowman?
A: Water.

They say that the body is made up of 90% water. 
So... I'm not fat. I'm just Water Logged!

Okay... I'm officially tapped out of water jokes. 😉 Time for a little seriousness. Proper hydration is no joke.

Drink Water to Improve

Joint Lubrication
The maintenance of Body Temperature
How cells manage Energy 
Mental function: clarity, concentration, depression, temper