What Regular Aromatherapy Massage Does For My Mental Health

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I had always promised my mother that she could retire at the age of 50 and do everything she kept herself from while raising me on her own. As expected from a self-made woman, Mom declined my generous offer many times, saying, “You should save your money for your future family. I have a great job – no need to worry about me.”

I only got to fulfill my promise when my mother got diagnosed with goiter at 52 years old and was ordered by the doctor to stop most – if not all – of her stressful activities. The first thing that I asked her to stop doing was going to her job. As an account executive, Mom had to worry about the company’s expenses all the time, to the point that she could not rest during report or tax week. I thought my mother would still look for excuses, but I was pleasantly surprised when she filed her resignation letter the next day – effective immediately.

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Now, despite Mom’s seemingly high-profile job, it did not mean that she had six or seven figures in the bank. Fate did not smile kindly at our little family until she reached 40 years old, as that’s when she took on the executive role. But then, my mother had to pay for a massive loan that she needed to get during my first semester in college – if she didn’t, the bank would take our home, which my grandparents bequeathed to her. I remember telling Mom back then that I would go to a community college; however, she insisted that going to an Ivy League school would afford me the best opportunities in the world. Hence, my mother had been paying for everything even a few years after I graduated – even if I tried to take over that financial responsibility once I got a regular job.

Being A Breadwinner In The Family

When my mother retired, I already had a wife and two kids. Mom and Lisa (my wife) had always gotten along, so it was a no-brainer for Lisa to let my mother live alone when we had another bedroom in the house for her. She was kind enough to say, “If Mom was here, she could teach me her recipes, and I could drive her to her doctor’s appointments.” That made me grateful for my wife, thinking that that’s one less task for me to do.

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Regarding my salary, I could say that I earned more than an average American like a real estate agent in California. My kids went to an excellent Catholic school; Lisa did not need to work and help with the house bills. But since I decided to take care of Mom and pay all her bills, I felt the need to work double-time. I would leave the house earlier than usual and scout for potential places to buy and sell; I would not go home until I secured some clients. Sometimes, I would do an open house on the weekends to gain more customers. My entire family worried that I was overexerting myself, but I often said that I was okay. I was already the man of the house – I had to do my part well, even if it meant dealing with sore muscles.

Getting Aromatherapy Massage Regularly

I let go of many extracurricular activities that cost me a lot in the past, but one thing I could not get rid of was aromatherapy massage. My wife and I were already regulars at a spa near the house because we would take turns going there to soothe our aching muscles.

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The smell of the essential oils allowed me to focus on the expert hands of my masseuse as they glided all over my achy spots, which were usually my calves and back. It would genuinely hurt once the masseuse pressed hard on my sore muscles, but I typically gritted my teeth through the pain, knowing that I would come out feeling lighter and more relaxed. Truth be told, I tend to fall asleep halfway through the massage – that’s how calm I felt every time.

Without the regular aromatherapy massage, I might have lost my mind months before that. I immediately realized that I bit more than I could chew when I made my mother retire and handle all her bills, but I was not one to back away from my promises. I kept working hard to make ends meet and ensure that my family would not deal with hardships in the future. Every month’s hour-long massage session gave me a chance to stop thinking about work, which helped me find a balance between work and personal life.

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Final Thoughts

My mother had successful surgery for her goiter, thank you very much. My wife and I were still very much in love, and our kids were doing well. As for my job, I managed to build a real estate company – albeit a small one – and had a handful of agents working for me.

I say it’s all because of the regular massage therapy sessions that I have gotten that stabilized my mental health during those tough times.

How Can Acupuncture Help With Weight Loss?

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The 2019 Acupuncture Conference I attended last year tackled how helpful acupuncture is to everyone. It does not only target a specific part, but it also solves the various problems of the whole body. What most people are unaware of is that acupuncture is also an effective method for weight loss. Here are the reasons why. 

Spearheads Healthy Digestion

Acupuncture quiets the fight-or-flight stress response of the nervous system. According to experts, this procedure also activates the parasympathetic system. This term refers to the body’s rest and digest stage. This activation leads to an improved stomach blood flow that aids digestion eliminates irritable bowel syndrome, and reduces bloating.

Reduces Cravings

Another way that acupuncture helps in weight loss is by reducing one’s cravings. A research experiment at Yale University found out that individuals who were addicted to cocaine but were able to receive acupuncture were less likely to consume drugs. It helped them kick or curb their addiction.

It goes the same with food. The reason behind this is because acupuncture alters the specific brain chemicals associated with food and cravings.

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Relieves Stress

Acupuncture is a cheap yet effective stress-reliever since it blocks the spikes in stress-induced hormones such as cortisol. At the same time, it also helps release the happy hormones, endorphins. The secretion of which does not only make you jolly, but it also adds to the calming effect of your body.

Managing your stress contributes to your weight maintenance. If you feel less stressed, then the tendency of drowning yourself with stress food will reduce as well.

Promotes Better Sleep

Acupuncture also improves our sleeping pattern, and once you have sustained this, there’s a significant possibility that it will contribute to weight loss. If you have sufficient high-quality sleep, your brain function will improve. Those who are sleep-deprived are more likely to be stressed, less focused, and snackers.

Take note, however, that you should not entirely rely on acupuncture alone. You should also partner this with exercise, proper diet, and a healthy lifestyle. Make sure to ask the services of a professional since this approach involves the central nervous system.

Mental Benefits Of Acupuncture

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Acupuncture continues to dominate medical treatment options. Recently, it has been more accepted by Western health professionals because of the numerous benefits it provides. “It is difficult to study the physiological mechanisms of acupuncture, because the placebo effect is strong and the pain relief it provides is real,” R. Douglas Fields, Ph.D. notes. He says, “Measuring the body’s physiological response to stabbing needles in it is certain to evoke physiological responses in the nerves and brain, but linking the body’s physiological response to the psychological perception of reduced pain is difficult.”

Aside from its effectivity in the treatment of physical nuisances such as headaches, sports injuries, back pain, and migraine, it is also helpful in treating mental illnesses. Here are some of the best mental benefits of acupuncture.

Treats Depression

According to recent studies, one in 12 Americans experiences depression. However, the usual treatment revolves around antidepressant medications. The problem they face with this approach is that it leaves them with side effects that only worsens the illness itself. There are times that these side effects contribute to the areas that these people need help with like weight gain, low libido, lack of energy, and sleeping disorders. “Depression can be treated successfully—the treatment is not the problem. The willingness to be assessed and ask for help is the major limitation,” says psychologist Susan Fletcher, PhD.

James Lake, M.D. shares, “Findings of a double-blind, sham-controlled study support that traditional manual acupuncture (i.e., needles in the absence of electrical current) is an effective treatment of severe depressed mood. By the end of the 8-week study, 68 percent of 33 female outpatients being treated with a specialized acupuncture protocol directed at depressed mood had achieved full remission.” Acupuncture has been proven to relieve symptoms of depression, especially physical pain and the emptiness of being disconnected from life. The best way to do so, however, is to combine this with Western medicine and therapy. Take note that there have to be fewer medications.

 

Addresses Anxiety

Acupuncture dedicated to addressing anxiety can reduce physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, digestive disturbances, tightness in the chest, and insomnia. What’s good with this treatment is its ability to reduce both mental and emotional symptoms for people battling anxiety. “Like monsters under the bed, stress and anxiety are stealing the peaceful nighttime rest of nearly 70 million Americans. Anxiety may also be sabotaging your confidence, turning your stomach into knots, and impacting your general well-being,” says Jamie Long Psy.D.

They do acupuncture in a way that instills a feeling of peace and calmness. Once the patients achieve their sense of fulfillment, they now get to the point of reducing the dosage.

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Reduces Stress

Stress is one of the primary reasons why people seek acupuncture treatment. Nearly 77% of employees experience the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety because of the increasing job demands and personal pressures.

“The experience of acupuncture is, for most of my patients, quite pleasant and relaxing,” says Teri Goetz, M.S., LAC, ACC. She shares, “Once the needles are in, the patient lies quietly on the table with low lighting, lovely music playing and often with aromatherapy incorporated into the process.The role of acupuncture in stress is that it moderates the client’s mood, lowers the stress hormones inside the body, and improves the overall feeling of contentment and happiness. “You are the only one who can determine which stress relievers are the right ones to incorporate into your stress management plan. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, relaxing is in the mind of the relaxer,” says Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D.

Who knows what will work for you if you don’t try?

Increases Energy

People exposed to acupuncture revealed that they achieve more mental clarity. Enhanced mental clarity leads to a more calm and relaxed day-to-day life. Since they don’t feel that much negative energy, they experience a surge of positive energy.

This boost in energy also comes from improved sleep. A lot of individuals experience sleep disorders because of the countless things running in their minds. With acupuncture, you get to have a more organized thought process. Upon reaching this state, there is no need to stress out at any time of the day, thus increasing your energy for the next day.

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Solves Insomnia

As mentioned above, acupuncture is a relaxing treatment and can remove impediments in sleeping. It helps treat insomnia. There is a different treatment approach, however, in cases of chronic insomnia. To solve this, it has to be a tailored approach depending on the patient’s situation and needs. Some of the things that your acupuncturist may ask are the following:

  • Do you have problems staying asleep, falling asleep, or both?
  • What are your behaviors during the day and the hours before bedtime?
  • How do you feel when you’re awake: obsessively thinking, tossing and turning, or lying with eyes open?

Once the acupuncturist establishes the pattern of insomnia, he or she will now draft a personalized acupuncture treatment.

If you’re more inclined to avoid the use of harmful and invasive conventional treatment, then acupuncture is perfect for you. Make sure your acupuncturist bears a license, and good health will follow.

6 Ways You Unknowingly Harm Your Body

There are certain habits we know to stay away from, like smoking, staying up late, and not drinking enough water. We know these practices are harmful because people warn us against them all the time. However, there are other less-known activities we partake in that also damage our body. Let’s take a look at them.

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Showering In Hot Water

When you get up in the morning, it’s tempting to step into the shower and go for a hot rinse. However, the temperature of the water you’re bathing in could do you harm as well. While warm or tepid water isn’t damaging, the scorching heat can dry out your skin and damage its top layer.

It isn’t only your skin that suffers. It can also hurt your hair cuticles. You’ll find yourself experiencing dull hair and even hair loss. Moreover, it has additional detrimental effects on men’s health. Studies show that hot baths decrease sperm count significantly.

“Most advice about coping with infertility is female-centric. But… men need support and help during this anxiety-inducing time as well,” writes Georgia Witkin Ph.D.

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Giving In To Crash Dieting

Got an event to attend in a month? You’re sure that with a crash diet, you’ll fit into that suit or dress in 30 days or less. Well, this may not last.

While you’ll find yourself slimmed down after you cut down on food, it won’t be a sustainable approach. Such a method can cause muscle loss or breakdown, resulting in a slower metabolism. Additionally, your immune system will weaken due to the lack of nutrients and vitamins.

Sleeping In During The Weekend

For most of us, weekends are for catching up on sleep. Somehow, we believe that getting extra hours of rest will fill in for lost sleep. However, it doesn’t look like it is true.

Sleeping in will throw off your circadian rhythm (your body clock). Researchers call this effect “social jet lag.” This disruption leads to further problems for your health. You’re more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, overeat, and consume caffeine. Likewise, extra hours of sleep won’t reverse the damage sleep deprivation has done to your body.

“In order to stay synchronized to the real world your clock needs to reset itself every day,” writes Alex Korb Ph.D.

Storing Your Wallet In Your Back Pocket

Too many items in your back pocket mean that you’re not sitting on a completely flat surface. When sitting, it tilts the position of your spine to some degree.

Although it may seem insignificant, sitting in such a way for several hours every day will take a toll on your body. Poor posture can lead to back pain, nerve constriction, and even an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Not Wearing Sunscreen

For many people, sunscreen only becomes a staple when they’re out on the beach. But even when the sun isn’t out, you have to get some of that SPF. While clouds can filter out the sunlight, it doesn’t protect people from harmful UV radiation.

“Ultraviolet radiation is a major cause of stem cell DNA damage – a factor that eventually leads to signs of skin aging,” writes Danielle Citrolo Pharm.D.

Wearing sunscreen protects you from these damaging rays. Skipping out on such can lead to skin damage and even skin cancer in the future. It also ages your skin faster, causing wrinkles to appear earlier.

Lying About Being Okay

We’re sure that everyone is guilty when it comes to lying about being okay. Sometimes, it’s so much simpler to fake it than talk about our feelings. But keeping them in is bad news for your mental health.

Bottling up emotions and problems keeps you from finding ways to solve them. Doing such can further worsen the situation and cause you to feel worse. Letting people help you would help ease your anxiety and worries.

Summary

Because we’ve gotten used to our daily routine, it’s challenging to realize when the habits we have are harmful. Hot showers, quick diets, and getting extra hours of sleep can do more harm than we think. Placing items in your back pocket, skipping out on sunscreen, and bottling up emotions is likewise detrimental. It pays to evaluate your actions and research to avoid unwittingly damaging your body.

Do’s And Don’ts For A Healthy And Beautiful Skin

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We all want fair and radiant skin. However, there are a lot of factors that can prevent us from achieving that.  From pollution and everyday stress up to the things we eat and do, all of these things can affect our skin so negatively. But lucky for us, the dream of having flawless skin is still possible. There are tons of ways you can do even without spending too much.

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Outdoor Activities That Can Boost Your Mental Health

Most people experience stress due to work and other responsibilities. Thus, it is crucial to take breaks whenever things are becoming difficult to handle. It is advisable to take a step back since mental health is an essential aspect of a person’s life.

Burnout is becoming a regular occurrence because of the fast-paced environment of most workplaces. Toxic work environment, as well as co-workers, can also cause exhaustion. If not prevented or managed, burnout can lead to severe mental health issues.

“Experts define burnout in different ways and note different causes. So what might tip you over the edge at work may differ from what pushes someone else into emotional and physical exhaustion,” wrote Margarita Tartakovsky, MS. “This is why it’s important to reflect on the root of your burnout.”

Here are three outdoor activities you can choose from when you need to take a break for your sanity.

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Hiking

Hiking may seem like a strenuous physical activity, but it is rewarding to the mental health of a person. Hiking is not only an exercise for the body, but it is also a gentle exercise for the mind. The fresh and clean air of nature contributes to this calming venture.

Hiking can clear your mind of unnecessary thoughts. You will have the opportunity to disconnect from the busy streets of the city. More importantly, the countryside will provide you with a peaceful setting to clear your mind of negative thoughts that harm your mental health.

Due to technological dependence, most people become addicted to their devices and social media applications. These applications help them easily connect with different people. However, continued social media connections can also be overwhelming. During those times, a hike to the mountains can be refreshing.

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Camping

If you manage to take more than a day off, you could incorporate camping into your hiking plans. This way, you can spend more time with nature. The chirping of birds, the clean air, and the beautiful trees make for a perfect environment for relieving your stress.

Camping can help you sleep better. Having a good sleep will boost your disposition because of the rest and nourishment your brain will get from it. It will also help you avoid the feeling of grogginess. Thus, you will feel recharged once you get back to your daily routine.

Similar to hiking, camping allows you to disconnect from the technology-dependent world. It lets you avoid devices and applications which are frequently toxic to your physical and mental well-being. Camping enables you to connect with the peace and beauty of nature. The real connection you will feel during the camp will most likely bring relaxation to your mind.

“There is mounting evidence that almost any outdoor activity will decrease stress and improve life satisfaction,”  wrote Constance Scharff, PhD. “Improvement in both mental and physical health can be attributed to spending time outdoors.”

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Outdoor Yoga

Yoga is already rewarding, even when done indoors. Thus, when done outdoors, yoga brings more health benefits. This type of meditation gives physical and mental satisfaction to a person.

Outdoor yoga allows you to be more connected with nature. Most people who engage in outdoor yoga do not use mats during sessions. Practicing yoga without a mat provides grounding, which aids in pain relief and other benefits.

Being around nature is an effective stress reliever. Susan McQuillan MS, RDN, wrote that “researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City have found that there are significant mental health benefits to be gained from participating in outdoor activities. Their systematic review of the existing literature on the mental health benefits of nature-based recreation, recently published in the Journal of Leisure Research, confirmed that spending time outdoors, and especially participating in outdoor activities, can lead to a variety of positive mental health outcomes.”

You can choose to do these activities in a forest or near bodies of water. It is more relaxing to spend your break in a calming and refreshing environment.

Counseling For Holistic Healthcare

Holistic healthcare focuses on the development of a person’s overall health. It is a form of healing that targets the maximum potential of a person’s spirit, mind, body, and emotions. It enables to reach the proper balance by removing the negative aspects of an individual’s sense of wellbeing. The engaging process of the holistic approach gives a different level of multi-dimensional advantage.

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Here’s How Acne Affects Your Mental Health

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Having acne is more than just a dermatological problem. It’s one of the main drivers of bullying and self-image issues among teens and adults alike.

The effects of acne on people are more than just skin-deep. It’s high time that we acknowledge the link between acne and mental health so that we can be more educated and help those who suffer from this.

“The skin is the most noticeable part of our body that could be impacted by psychological factors, yet very few psychologists are studying it,” says Kristina G. Gorbatenko-Roth, PhD. “It’s classic health psychology, just in a different area.”

Acne And Mental Health

In a society where a flawless and photoshopped face is deemed to be ideal, the pursuit of perfect skin is constant. Much to our dismay, we often find that perfect skin is elusive, if not at all impossible, for most people.

We all experience having acne at least once in our lives. There are many factors at play: lifestyle, diet, hormones, and genetics. Most of these are natural causes. But for some, the effects are much worse. This problem doesn’t sit too well in a society with such high expectations of beauty. So how exactly does having acne affect our mental health?

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Our Emotional Connection To Our Skin

An overwhelming amount of people with mental illness trace their feelings toward their self-image. The person that we see in front of the mirror every day may affect our emotions intensely. Seeing an acne-ridden face may cause a disjunct on what we feel we should look like versus how we look like. It puts pressure and frustration on us because we begin to hate ourselves for not being the flawless person we are expected to be.

Studies found that people who have acne are more prone to falling into depression than those without this problem. Consistently, they also found that as a person’s acne becomes better, their mental and emotional state is also becoming more stable.

“Acne negatively affects self-esteem and can lead to anxiety and depression,” Amy Wechsler, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and psychiatrist. “Self-care often suffers, and patients with acne often withdraw from social and work activities, don’t go on dates, and don’t try for better jobs,” she explains.

Additionally, according to Emily Deans, MD, “[P]atients with acne are more likely to be depressed, angry, and suicidal. In fact, patients with acne struggle more with mental health issues than even patients with epilepsy or diabetes, according to a study comparing questionnaires between sufferers of acne and other general medical conditions.”

Bullying And Discrimination

Too many teenagers experience bullying because of acne. That’s precisely why it’s a cliché in coming-of-age movies. For most teens undergoing puberty, developing acne is unavoidable. Nevertheless, something they have no control over becomes the root of bullying. It leads them to hate school and develop an inferiority complex.

What’s worse is that the bullying does not stop in school. Even in the workplace, there is still discrimination when job seekers are denied positions because of how they look. There is a high emphasis on presentability even for desk jobs, which does not require facing people too much.

Some also experience unequal treatment compared to those who do not have acne. All these contribute to diminished mental health.

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Social Media

Why do I not look like her?

Along with the rise of Instagram and Instagram models, having spotless air-brushed skin is the latest craze. Albeit unnatural and unreal, conforming to these standards has now become the center of our lives. We are hell-bent on seeking validation from the world that having acne can make or break our pursuit of fame and validation.

For some, having acne is a death sentence. It’s the one thing separating us from likes and compliments. Sadly, some of us rely on the validation we get from social media, and when we lack that, we begin to doubt our self-worth.

Final Thoughts

Advising people to not care about what other people think is easier said than done. We get it: acne sucks. It’s something that almost every one of us dreads because it messes up our self-image and how other people view us.

Whatever happens, embrace your skin. Go to a dermatologist or invest in skincare products or a healthier lifestyle to help yourself. If none of that works, know that you are not alone.

On the flip side, if you’re blessed with clear skin and you’re reading this, be kind. Cheers!

Natural Ingredients And Herbs For Skin Care

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Choosing skincare products is very difficult due to the rise of so many skincare products in the market. The endless combinations, contents, and effects can give people a headache regarding what to choose. Maybe it is time to take a unique approach regarding skincare and pick the natural option.

“When you think about anti-aging products, if you’re like most people, your mind automatically goes to expensive and invasive medical treatments. However, just as the best things in life can be free, so can the best ways to prolong your own life and health,” writes Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.

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