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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
August 7, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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August 7, 1997

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Food, Health and Fitness Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday; August 7, 1997 13 Sometimes we get so ped uP inl outdoor grilling and what it does, flaviSe to meats and fin and shell :fish that we: may neg!t:e vegetables we need for balance. Nutti0n::cartt.ihed:ijst iii IIII I Are we aH starving? by Karen Mooney We can look at a person's skin (or outside) and know with some accuracy how they are feeling inside. Paleness, flushing, sweating, shivers, pink, yellow, clammy, dry, oily are indications of health, diet, or mental state. And in reverse, we know we can affect the inside of a person by touching the outside (skin). A soothing hand calms, a cool cloth reduces fever, a quick slap can awaken, stimulate, or hurt. Much research indicates that touch (tactile stimulation) affects the central nervous system and stimulates healing and emotional and physical well being. From studies done in orphanages, on different cultures, and on laboratory animals, conclusions were made that touch deprivation can result in erotic behavior, poor health, unsocialization, depression, retarded physical development, poor immune systems and general maladjustments. In one study of orphanages, infants were "wasting away" as if with malnutrition, although being adequately fed, clean, and medically cared for. Fatalities between seven and 12 months were high. With the intervention of more staff and more "quality time" (holding, hugging, talking to babies) symptoms and fatalities plummeted. Rhesus monkeys were given the choice of a mother object that supplied food and a mother object thatoffered comfort. They selected the comfort object over the food creature. Indicating the priority of this need over food! In nursing homes similar symptoms have been observed. Although the needs of shelter, food, warmth and medical care are met, many elderly suffer from depression, malnutrition, weight loss, anxiety and a weak immune system. Pets have been introduced in some homes, giving the residents something to touch, caress and care for. Many nursing homes have therapists who either give or train family and aides to give a form of massage that calms the central nervous system, boosts the immune system and offers comfort through the sensory stimulation. It is really impossible to estimate how many touch de- prived people there are or to what degree their bodies, their attitudes and their behaviors are formed by this deprivation. Yet, we do know there is very little quality touch in our child-rearing practices and in our adult culture. Given the mass of evidence which shows the importance of touch to the chemical, structural, and pyschological characteristics of a person, it is easy to suspect the number is probably vast. The overwhelming complaints today in a doctor's office are headaches, somatic pains, digesting or elimination mal- functions, heart conditions, apathies, fatigue, obesity, loss of appetite, tension and mostly without discernible causes. Re- searchers have turned to lifestyles to explain all these. "Stress" is getting a lot of attention as a powerful contrib- uting factor. Soothing touch, whether applied to a ruffled cat, a crying baby, or a frightened child usually rubs out the distress. Why is it we think a child or pet needs "comforting" when under duress and we adults need "medicine?" It is the knowledge that there is no gulf between this "medicine" and simple contact that gives a person a chance to pursue good health. Certainly, we can't rub away diphtheria, or leukemia, or certain other diseases and mutilations for which allopathic medicine (regular physician care as prac- ticed in the U.S.) and research has been our lifesavers. If by good health we mean more than the absence of life- threatening emergencies, if we mean the ongoing develop- ment of a person, his own body awareness, the optimum functioning of the nervous system, then we need to look at bodywork as a non-drug way to achieve it. It is difficult to imagine a more direct way to take care of so many results of stress than by supplying the touch that was missing in the first place. The power of touch therapy There's plenty of evidence that mass'age is more than just a feel-good thing. It has therapeutic benefits as well. Studies have shown that massage reduces anxiety and lowers the body's production of stress hormones. That response translates into a significant health benefit for people with asthma, severe burns, depression, insomnia, eating disorders, or rheumatoid arthritis. There is a basic human need for touch and the more high- tech our society becomes, the less physical contact there is. Although massage is beneficial it is not a substitute for medical care. Use it to reduce stress or complement medical treatment. Swedish massage eases muscle tension and relieves pain, especially headaches and neck pain, while it increases blood flow. Improved circulation can helppeople with arthritiS, Trager or "movement reeducation," can help you move differently and redistribute the ways your body stores tension. Shiatsu, or Oriental massage, is a kind of no-needless acupuncture. Therapists believe that each path corresponds to specific organs, and they try to rebalance the flow of energy through- out the body so that the body can heal itself. These treatments may sound mystical, but they are getting some serious support from health professionals. News for Nevada Consumers from Attorney General Frankie Sue DeiPapa Exercise as therapy? Although most people with migraine headaches stop par- ticipating in daily activities and seek a dark, quiet room for relief from their pain, some people find that exercise can help prevent or relieve their migraines. For instance, a 43-year-old former professional dancer who participated in a regular aerobic exercise program found that exercise helped end her acute migraine attacks. When she felt a migraine coming on, if the opportunity afforded itself, the dancer would go for a run, which would eliminate the visual aura symptoms and prevent the headache. Obviously, we cannot generalize and say this course of action is appropriate for all migraine sufferers: a high level of fitness may first be necessary to duplicate these results. Also it's important to note that this dancer had a long history of participation in exercise without migraine. Exercise may help when used as part of a multidisciplinary treatment regimen. You might talk to your physician about getting involved in such activities as walking, jogging or other similar exercises. At many inpatient headache units, patients are encouraged to participate in an exercise program supervised by the physical therapy department. In one study published in the medical literature, 11 mi- graine sufferers participated in a six-week cardiovascular exercise program. By the end of the program, the patients' cardiovascular fitness had improved and they reported that their migraine attacks were less painful. The authors of this study thought that two factors might have contributed to the improvement. The patients might have had certain expectations for the study, and cardiovascu- lar exercise might have improved their mood and resporae to stressful stimuli. The researchers acknowledged that the results should not be generalized and that it still needs to be determined if longer exercise programs maintain positive outcomes. Courtesy of the National Headache Foundation Relief from headaches Headaches send about 45 million Americans to the doctor every year and are the main cause of missed work days. If you suffer from regular headaches, consider these questions: * Does your headache cause severe throbbing on one side of your head? - If so, you could have a migraine. * Do your headaches distract you but still allow you to be active? If so, you may suffer from tension headaches. * Is there a pattern to your headaches? - Keep a headache diary and share it with your doctor. * If so, you could develop "rebound" headaches. Emotions are too often blamed for headaches, r Stress, bad posture, clenching your jaws, grinding your teeth, and holding your head in one position for too long may also trigger headaches. Stress management techniques, such as meditation and relaxation exercises can greatly reduce the pain of headaches. You may want to consult your physician if you experience regular headaches or are concerned about their severity. News for Nevada Consumers from Attorney General Frankie Sue DelPapa