Is it Seasonal Affective Disorder or merely the Winter Blues?

There are some people who are profoundly affected by the lack of sunlight in the winter months and those people need to talk to their physicians about using light therapy to help with the symptoms of SAD. Most of us, however, just get a bit of the winter blues that sound in our heads a little like, “it’s too cold to get out and exercise, so I just won’t.” Challenge your own thinking to get in some fun indoor exercise which will help beat back the winter blues. #MarktheSpotMassage

Tips for Staying Fit Throughout the Holidays

1. Get Outside. It’s hard not to do something physical once you’re out of doors.
2. Set a challenge. Even if you can’t get to your regular workout every day while traveling and visiting, can you do something each and every day?
3. Use Feet-First Sightseeing. If you’re traveling, get to know a neighborhood by walking around and exploring it.
4. Partner up. Partner up with someone you’re traveling with to make sure you both get in a workout.
5. Sign up for a race. Sign up for a race sometime after the holidays so you’re motivated to stay in shape during the holidays.
6. If the weather is terrible, look for a workout station, YouTube video or DVD.Try something entirely new, you may enjoy it.
7. Treat yourself to something new. Give yourself a new piece of workout clothing or workout gear, then use it during the holidays.
8. Start a family tradition. Establish some type of activity that the whole family can participate in and make it an annual event.
9. Do something you enjoyed doing in your childhood–sledding, a snowball fight, or ice skating. All of these can get your muscles moving and your heart pumping.
10. Find a great deal. Many gyms offer special deals during the holidays. Join up or take advantage of a free personal consultation about your fitness goals.
11. Dance! If a holiday party has good music, get up and dance!
12. Cruise the mall. Before you begin shopping in earnest, take a full lap of the mall.

Why does your back hurt?

Standing upright requires the spine to support the weight of the upper body while remaining flexible enough to bend in many directions. The back’s complex set of bones, muscles and ligaments get a workout every time you move. Disks between the bones intended to cushion movement can slip, bulge or press on spinal nerves causing pain. Plus, disks wear and shrink as we age. If you have back pain, a good neuromuscular massage can help relieve the pain and restore your flexibility.

Tai Chi is Good for Back Pain Sufferers

Tai Chi is often recommended for people who have chronic back pain because it combines slow, gentle movements with deep breathing and meditation. Especially for people who have range of motion issues with their backs, Tai Chi is a great exercise regimen to get you moving again.

Knee Injuries are the Most Common Injury in Winter Sports

About one third of all skiing and snowboarding injuries involve the ligaments in the knee with the ACL being the most common ligament affected. Fortunately, improvements to boots and bindings are cutting down on the number of fractures, but any sudden twist while you’re in a binding can result in a knee ligament injury.

The best thing you can do to prevent knee injuries is to be cautious of sharp turns, to build up your quad muscles to handle the stress, and wear a knee brace while skiing or snowboarding.

Massage can greatly reduce the time to recovery in a knee injury, and can help you regain mobility quickly.

Cloves are a Well-Known Natural Pain Reliever

Cloves can relieve the pain of headaches, arthritis and toothaches. Cloves are a spice commonly used in pies and other foods. The active ingredient is eugenol which is a natural pain reliever found in many over-the-counter pain creams. Cloves come in capsules, powders or in oil form.

Caution: People who are taking blood-thinning medications should use cloves with caution because clove oil can increase the risk of abnormal bleeding.

Snowboarders can Experience Ankle Injuries

Snowboarder’s ankle is fracture of the outside Talus bone in the ankle. Oftentimes, snowboarders consider the ankle pain as merely a sprain and avoid having an x-ray to confirm the fracture. In addition, these fractures are difficult to see on x-ray but can be seen easily on a cat scan.

One way to prevent Snowboarder’s ankle is to wear a brace that goes above the ankle to restrain over-movement while snowboarding. Recovery often involves the use of a wobble board to strengthen the muscles used for balance.

Massage can be beneficial to relieve the pain around the area, as well as to help regain flexibility in the ankle joint. Treatment can begin as early as 2 weeks after a talus fracture, or as soon as the swelling subsides in a sprain.

Turmeric is a Good Natural Pain Reliever

 Use turmeric for indigestion, osteoarthritis or generalized pain. Turmeric is a spice, a part of the ginger family, often used in Indian food that gives yellow curry its unique color and flavor. It contains curcumin, an antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radicals that can damage cells and tissue. It also relieves inflammation that causes pain. People with gallbladder disease should avoid turmeric, and has not been studied for long-term use.

Skiers Thumb is a Common Injury if You use Poles while You Ski

If you fall with your ski pole in hand, you may hyperextend your thumb causing a sprain. There are thumb stabilizers available to wear underneath gloves that will help protect the thumb’s ligaments without restricting range of motion.

If you injure your thumb, massage can greatly help to reduce the pain around the area, and to regain flexibility in your thumb joints. If there is a sprain and no complete ligament tear or fracture, massage can begin as soon as any swelling subsides.

Consider Willow Bark for Headaches, Low Back Pain, or Osteoarthritis

Willow bark eases inflammation which wil also ease aches and pains. The chemical salacin which is similar to the salicylic acid in aspirin is found in the bark of the white willow. White willow comes as a dried herb that can be brewed like tea, or it comes as a capsule or liquid supplement. Because the chemical property in willow bark is so similar to aspirin, you should not take it if you have sensitivity to aspirin or if you are taking a blood thinner. You should use willow bark with caution if you are also taking over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.