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No one wants to experience declining health as they age. At the same time, many of us treat our health like an afterthought — a thing we’ll deal with as problems arise, but not something we worry about in the day-to-day. However, it’s exactly that approach that leads to chronic health problems by the time you reach middle age. If you want to enjoy better health for longer, it’s time to make some changes. Here are six ways to get started.

1) Control Your Breath

Odds are, you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your breathing. But maybe you should. Your breath is a powerful tool for reducing stress, improving circulation, and even boosting your immune system, Washington Square Journal reports. Aim to breathe slowly through your nose, expanding your abdomen with each breath and exhaling at a slower rate than you inhale. It’s tough to unlearn habits, especially when they’re as subconscious as breathing, so consider taking a meditation or yoga class to learn better breath control.

2) Go to Bed Earlier

Are you sleeping enough? If you’re like many Americans, the answer is probably a no. However, your sleeping habits affect more than your energy levels. When you don’t get enough sleep, you increase your risk of a wide range of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night, so head to bed at least eight to nine hours before you have to wake up.

3) Measure Your Food

According to MyFitnessPal, most people underestimate their calorie intake. If you can’t seem to lose weight no matter what you try, start measuring your food to determine the exact calorie content of your meals. Measuring can be done with tools you already have around the kitchen, like measuring cups and a digital scale. When you start tracking your food, odds are that you’ll discover a lot of calories you weren’t accounting for! Once you understand what you’re actually eating, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to execute proper portion control and finally reduce your calorie consumption.

4) Eat Your Colors

Many of us don’t eat as much fruits and vegetables as we should. And when we do, we tend to stick to a handful of favorites and shy away from unfamiliar produce. However, monotonous eating habits increase the risk that you’re missing important nutrients in your diet. To get more beneficial nutrients including antioxidants and phytochemicals, aim to include a wide variety of colors in your product choices. From deep purple blueberries to bright orange winter squash, there’s a rainbow out there just waiting to make it to your plate.

5) Watch Your Posture

Modern life has us sitting in front of computers for large portions of the day. If you don’t practice good posture at your desk, you could develop severe back problems. In addition to buying an ergonomic office chair and getting up to move every 20 minutes during the workday, make sure you’re practicing good posture at your desk. Ergonomics.com explains exactly what proper desk posture looks like.

6) Release Tension

Do your muscles constantly feel tight, even when you haven’t worked out? Muscle tension can be a sign of stress and anxiety. If it’s not addressed, that tension could grow into persistent, debilitating pain. Bodywork like massage and myofascial release provide immediate, short-term relief from tension and pain. For long-lasting relief, it’s important to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety in your life.

If you’re reading this, it’s time to stop putting better health off until later. It’s much easier to maintain good health than to fix poor health, and it doesn’t have to mean completely overhauling your lifestyle. Through a series of small, intentional habits like these, you can build a strong body and mind for life.

It’s almost that time of year again… vegetation season!

Vegetation season is underway and crops are being sewn as we speak! So it leads me to wonder and begs me to ask, do you do business with any of your local farmers? If so, how often do you shop at your local Farmers’ Market? Where does most of the grocery money go?

When you shop at your local farmers market, you are not only getting localized, fresh, seasonal food. You’re helping support a local farmer and their family’s lively-hood!

I have come up with 8 reasons why not only you should be supporting these farmers, but I will prove how the money invested in a good, dependable farmer can be one of the best decisions you could make for your families health!!!!!

1) Locally grown food tastes and looks better.

The crops are picked at their peak, making them nutritionally dense. While farmstead products like cheeses are hand-crafted for best flavor. Livestock products are processed in nearby facilities and typically the farmer has a direct relationship with processors, overseeing quality – unlike animals processed in large industrial facilities.

2) Local food is better for you.

The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food. Food imported from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to you. These very same foods are laden with chemicals to keep them looking appealing!

3) Local food preserves genetic diversity.

In the modern agricultural system, plant varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing and last a long time on the shelf, so there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production. Smaller local farms, in contrast, often grow many different varieties of crops to provide a long harvest season, an array of colors, and the best flavors. Livestock diversity is also higher where there are many small farms rather than few large farms.

4) Local food is safe.

There’s a unique kind of assurance that comes from looking a farmer in the eye at farmers’ market or driving by the fields where your food comes from. Local farmers aren’t anonymous and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously. Like any good business, they want the reassurance from their customers, the very same food they are selling you they are consuming themselves!!

5) Local food supports local families.

The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food – which helps farm families stay on the land. Plus you are getting first dibs- food that was literally just picked and on your plates within hours of harvest !!

6) Local food builds community.

When you buy direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowledge is power and in knowing farmers, it can give you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.

7) Local food preserves open space.

When farmers get paid more for their products by marketing locally, they’re less likely to sell farmland for development. When you buy locally grown food, you’re doing something proactive to preserve the already working landscape. This landscape is an essential ingredient to other economic activity in the state, such as tourism and recreation.

8) Local food keeps taxes down.

According to several studies by the American Farmland Trust, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services.

So our society accepts the fact that we have a designated physician, mechanics, massage therapist, and even a stylist. But when we talk about our personal farmer its seems kinda strange, like Meijer’s is my grocery store ….right??? I assure you that the money invested in your local farmer is money worth spent and they will appreciate you too!! It’s a relationship worth building for your health and your families!!

Some of you may have noticed that recently I’ve become very open about my opinion on marijuana legalization. I thought I might take this time to briefly go over my reasonings.

A Brief History of Cannabis

Compounds found in the cannabis plant have been used for medicine dating back 1000’s of years as a medicinal herbal remedy. With growing research and countless anecdotal reports, cannabis is becoming widely accepted as a pain control with its antioxidants and neuroprotectant features, it’s no wonder the U.S government holds a patent on those very same medicinal properties. Back in May, I added a service known as Sensory reduction therapy to my practice, I became very intrigued with the mind-stimulating effects floating could have on a person, specifically the effects on brain waves. When placed in a deprived area of all sensory inputs, your brain then creates its own. This can be a phenomenal tool in healing ones-self. It also gives you the potential to reach new subconscious domains. Cannabis can have very similar effects to deprivation therapy, which has been noted to affect the Theta brain wave state used for meditation, intuition, and memory. Cannabis has been known to affect more on an Alpha brain wave state which is used for relaxation, visualization, and creativity.

In September of last year, I attended a brain conference and be became even more fascinated with brain health, including diet, exercises, and rehabilitation of it.

Positive Effects of Using Cannabis

Through noted research and personal experiences, I knew that the brain/mind can have a positive effect using cannabis and as such, I am a firm believer that this is our future in medicine!

Since then, I have become a board member for a West Michigan Woman Grow chapter to help empower and educate the masses about this potential medicine. I am a firm believer that all diseases have an emotional connection and with all the epidemics and rise in brain/mind health concerns, including- Depression, Anxiety, ADHD and Autism (to list a few) brain/mind health has become something I am very passionate about. In time, I have decided that becoming a certified Hypnotherapist is my next step in my career choices.

I believe that the brain/mind is a minimally understood field of medicine and I am excited about getting my feet wet in this field! Where marijuana legalization takes us on an economic level is still to be said, but I know my heart is in it for the good and because of it I am excited about my prospects!!!

Did you know that magnesium deficiency is linked to several chronic health problems? It is also the second most necessary mineral needed aside from calcium in the human body and in the United States is known to be deficient is 75% of the population. Magnesium, according to the National Institutes of Health, is a component or cofactor involved in over 300 biochemical processes within the body and is important for many vital functions.

It’s no surprise magnesium is becoming a popular supplement for people with headaches, migraines, asthma, and diabetes. High cholesterol, muscle cramps, and digestive disorders can also be effectively eliminated with a regular intake of magnesium. This is why is it so important to eat magnesium-rich foods. Not a single system in the body is able to function properly without magnesium.

In combination with eating magnesium-rich foods, you can also utilize the deprivation tank, with 1,000 lbs. of magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt your body can absorb! Float tank (aka. deprivation tank, isolation tank) contains a lot of Epsom salt. Like, a lot a lot. There’s about eight hundred to a thousand pounds of Epsom salt in each tank. This is so much salt, that the water becomes so dense you literally can’t help but float. It’s harmless to soak in for long periods, and it doesn’t cause the itchy, pruny feeling you get from soaking in sea salt.

The History of Epsom Salt

Let’s take a history lesson – Epsom salt 101; is called this because it was first produced from natural springs at Epsom, England, around 1618, and from 1695 chemists and pharmacies were selling purified “bitter salts” all over England. For three hundred years since it’s been used to cure just about anything, from muscle aches to skin health, foot odor, wrinkles, psoriasis, eczema, mosquito bites, bruises, inflammation, hangovers, migraines, constipation, and the common cold.

Do any of these really work? Let’s look at the science.

Chemically speaking, Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, MgSO4. Magnesium and sulfates are both ingredients in essential biological processes. Both are available in many foods- especially green leafy vegetables of which but both can have issues with absorption in the digestive tract.

Further, studies consistently show that Americans do not get their recommended intake of magnesium. Indeed, the availability of magnesium in the food supply has decreased substantially over the past century.

Magnesium deficiency leads to fatigue, weakness, and eventually loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. It may also be a contributing factor to certain heart arrhythmias, blocked arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, weak bones, migraines, insomnia, pre-eclampsia, and muscle cramps.

People, particularly at risk of magnesium deficiency, include:

*Gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac disease, and regional enteritis can have difficulty absorbing enough magnesium from food.
*Insulin resistance or type-2 diabetes can have excessive magnesium lost in urination.
*Those taking diuretics or antibiotics. Additionally, some medications for chronic diseases interfere with magnesium absorption.
*Older adults may experience decreased absorption and increased excretion of magnesium.
*Alcohol dependence can have a whole spectrum of problems causing magnesium deficiency (among other things!)
*A review from the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that magnesium is an effective treatment for:
*eclampsia and preeclampsia,
*Arrhythmia,
*Severe asthma,
*Migraine,
*Dyspepsia, and
*Constipation;
And is possibly effective for:
*lowering risk of metabolic syndrome,
*improving glucose and insulin metabolism,
*preventing osteoporosis,
*Improving symptoms of leg cramps in pregnant women, and
*Alleviating dysmenorrhea.
*Sulfate
*Body temperature regulation,
*Bone strength,
*Production of energy and the dilation of blood vessels,
*Protein synthesis,
*Muscle and nerve function,
*Blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation,
*Energy production,
*Oxidative phosphorylation glycolysis,
*Transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, and thus: nerve impulse conduction,
*Muscle contraction,
*Normal heart rhythm the structural development of bone synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione

Sulfate is equally essential to life — it’s critical to the functioning of the central nervous system, to the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, to produce digestive enzymes, and in lubricating the sliding surfaces of our joints.

Under normal circumstances, the body can manufacture about 80% of its own sulfate needs. The remainder needs to come from external sources, generally foods such as meat, fish, and eggs. However, direct absorption of sulfate is slow at the best of times and can be easily interfered with by bowel diseases. Also, people are not equally efficient at manufacturing their own sulfate needs. Reduced efficiency, leading to sulfate deficiency, is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis and primary biliary cirrhosis.

So then why not Float -and “SOAK” up other benefits too? What do you absorb from floating? Can you supply your body with additional magnesium and sulfate from an Epsom salt bath?

The skin, of course, is generally extremely effective as a waterproof barrier, and that generally includes blocking water-soluble minerals like Epsom salt. However, in the only direct (though not peer-reviewed) study I’m aware of, Rosemary Waring at the University of Birmingham tested the magnesium and sulfate levels of 19 subjects before and after 12-minute Epsom salt baths. She found increases of varying degrees in almost all subjects, as much as 40% for magnesium.

In another lab test using excised skin, her group found that sulfate does penetrate across the barrier. “This is quite rapid so probably involves a sulfate transporter protein.”

This result is not entirely conclusive, though, as the experiment has not been replicated and some contradictory evidence also exists.

We offer Floating as a service here at Paradigm Wellness, magnesium absorption is just one of the very many benefits ‘Floating’ can provide!

Stay tuned for, mind-body correlation involved in floating, structural benefits, and even relaxing qualities this treatment can supply!

References:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/19/magnesium-deficiency.aspx
http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/31/health/magnesium-deficiency-health/
Guerrera, Volpe, and Mao, “Therapeutic Uses of Magnesium”, American Family Physician (2009) 80(2):157-62.
https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0715/p157.html
Rosemary Waring, “Report on Absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin”, unpublished report (2006). ​http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/report_on_absorption_of_magnesium_sulfate.pdf
A. Eisenkraft et al, “Phase I study of a topical skin protectant against chemical warfare agents”, Mil Med (2009) 174(1):47-52. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/24009547_Phase_I_Study_of_a_Topical_Skin_Protectant_Against_Chemical_Warfare_Agents