Hugging for your Health

Hugging for your Health

We all know that hugs make us happier, but can they really keep you healthy?

As little kids we were told about an apple a day, but can a hug a day really keep the doctor away too?  Recent studies have shown that “hugging protects people who are under stress from the increased risk for colds [that’s] usually associated with stress,” notes study lead author Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. Hugging “is a marker of intimacy and helps generate the feeling that others are there to help in the face of adversity.”

 

Some experts attribute the stress-reducing, health-related benefits of hugging to the release of oxytocin, often called “the bonding hormone” because it promotes attachment in relationships, including between mothers and their newborn babies. Oxytocin is made primarily in the hypothalamus in the brain, and some of it is released into the bloodstream through the pituitary gland. But some of it remains in the brain, where it influences mood, behavior and physiology. How hugging fits in: “When you’re hugging or cuddling with someone, [he or she is] stimulating pressure receptors under your skin in a way that leads to a cascade of events including an increase in vagal activity, which puts you in a relaxed state,” explains psychologist Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine. One theory is that stimulation of the vagus nerve triggers an increase in oxytocin levels.”(1)

Science is proving what our mom’s and even common sense has proven throughout our lives, kindness and love has amazing healing properties. When we feel stressed our bodies suffer, but when we feel that reassurance, support and a simply put gesture of love – it thrives.

I have started an experiment where I am hugging people I love at least 30 seconds a day.  It seems silly, but so far, the results are amazing.  I feel very happy doing it and the person I am hugging seems happier. It’s not a scientific study but does it have to be? Just go ahead and hug someone.

Source:

(1) https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2016-02-03/the-health-benefits-of-hugging

 Get A Bang Out of Aging this New Year

Get A Bang Out of Aging this New Year

he end of summer is drawing near.  Did you take time to regain your vigor and excitement? You see all the ads about getting your beach body ready and almost everyone shudders. Our obsession with body image should be refocused on body health. For people over 40, the feelings of body inadequacies are only worsened by the changes that aging has on our sense of sexuality. It is a catch 22 as improving our vitality is heavily integrated in staying “ sexy.”

Attitudes about sexuality and aging – we can change the perceptions about sexuality via education and therapeutic approaches.

“The myth: Only the young are sexually attractive.

The culture we live in exalts youth. Turn on the TV or open a magazine and you’ll be barraged with images of supple skin, firm flesh, long eye leashes, full lips and lustrous locks. If your mirror is reflecting a different picture these days, you may feel like the party is going on without you.

The reality: Older can be quite sexy.
Sure, thinning hair, laugh lines, and a paunchy midriff are no picnic. But think back on what it was that made you attractive in your younger years. Was it your soulful brown eyes, your crooked smile, or maybe your infectious laugh? Chances are, those attributes are still as appealing as ever. In fact, a 1999 survey conducted by the AARP and Modern Maturity magazine revealed that the percentage of people age 45 and older who consider their partners physically attractive increases with age.”

Read More: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/attitudes-about-sexuality-and-aging

Somethings often seem easier in theory than in application. In the throes of Menopause and/or Andropause or just busy adult lives, how do we keep passion alive?

Sexual health and aging: Keep the passion alive

“Sexual feelings don’t disappear as you age. Here’s how to keep the flame burning.

Sexual health is important at any age. And the desire for intimacy is timeless. As you age, sex may not be the same as it was in your 20s, but it can still be very fulfilling. Discover which aspects of sexual health are likely to change as you age — and how you and your partner can adapt.”

Read More: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/sexual-health/art-20046698

Keeping LifeFit® will keep you healthier and sexier. Biomechanics and physics teach us that things in Motion stay in Motion.

“You’ve likely heard that regular exercise can reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis. But a growing body of research shows it may have another, more surprising effect: improving your sex life.

In men, regular exercise appears to be a natural Viagra. It’s associated with a lower risk of erectile problems. In one study, sedentary middle-aged men assigned to participate in a vigorous exercise program for nine months reported more frequent sexual activity, improved sexual function, and greater satisfaction. Those whose fitness levels increased most saw the biggest improvements in their sex lives.”

Read More: http://www.health.com/sex/exercise-and-sex

 

Menopause Midwifery or Doulas

I read and research constantly for my blogs on areas of interest.  Occasionally, I come across novel and innovative concepts that inspire me.

Menopause Midwife

When we are going through childbirth we often will choose to have a midwife or Doula.

“Midwives and doulas seem similar, since they’re both people (who aren’t OBs) who help women through labor.  And they are both most commonly chosen by moms-to-be who go drug-free during their delivery. But their roles in the childbirth process are actually quite different.

A midwife is a health care provider, while a doula is more of a childbirth coach. You might choose to have a midwife instead of an OB for prenatal care and to deliver your baby—midwives can deliver babies in hospitals, birthing centers or even in your home. A doula, on the other hand, doesn’t replace your healthcare practitioner but rather can add extra services, such as helping you with techniques to manage pain during labor and even providing support and help during baby’s early days. Isn’t it great there are so many people who can help you though?”(1)

I started thinking why don’t we have these people to support women through the physical, psychological and emotional aspects of menopause?

Imagine, if we had someone who could provide medical informative support combined with personal supportive services as you go through one of the most demanding changes as a woman in your life? There are a many and very good support groups online to help with peer support for menopausal women. But, sometimes you need more. You need that personal attention and support to address your unique concerns and needs during menopause.

Would it help to have someone give you techniques or services to alleviate the symptoms, pain or issues your experiencing  emotionally, mentally and physically?

(1)https://www.thebump.com/a/difference-between-midwife-and-doula

The Patient Dilemma

Choosing a doctor can be daunting to many people. Sometimes you don’t have many choices as per your insurance network. Other times you seem to have too many choices and find yourself playing Sherlock Holmes and checking reviews and background.

Finally, you find a doctor or at least you think you have and try to make an appointment. You find yourself battling the gate keeper for the office and trying to determine if you have the right insurance or if their availability is good.

It can make finding a doctor feel like mental gymnastics. I know I have found many cases where I was excited about seeing the doctor and the person answering the phone just turned me off.

My adult son called me the other day frustrated and frazzled. The dentist he loves and has used for years has a new receptionist and she is beyond mean and unhelpful. He knows I’m friendly with the hygienist there, so he asked me to reach out. As suspected, it was an issue with new staff.

As with everything else, first impressions matter. But, let’s say I felt warm and fuzzy after talking to the doctor’s office and then I go in and I wait (and I wait and I wait).  This is also a turn off from any patient’s perspective because your time is valuable. Time for you meet the doctor for the first time. You’re already off to a bad start.

Sometimes, it’s love at first sight, and the doctor is kind, patient and explains all aspects of your care with you. You feel respected and valued. He’s the kind of doctor who will listen to your complaints or concerns and take you seriously.

But then again, you run into some doctors who don’t seem to want to listen to anything you have to say, or they seem like they’re listening, then completely disregard your feelings or concerns.

In many cases, the doctor is rushing out of the exam room, seeing many patients at the same time. Recently, I had a situation where a doctor that I really did like, dealt with me in a way that was less than professional.  It was blatantly obvious he was having a bad day. I get the fact the doctors are people too and everybody has her or his off days, but when you go to the doctor there is a certain level of expectation of professionalism that as patients, we all deserve.

So, what can you do to make sure that the relationship between you and your healthcare provider is a healthy one?

  • Communicate and don’t be intimidated or afraid to be your own advocate.
  • Show Respect and Expect it.
  • If you like your doctor but have issues with staff, let the doctor know with candid feedback.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get second opinions.
  • If you’re not getting your needs met with your healthcare provider, don’t settle for less than stellar care.

I’m very fortunate to have found doctors who seem to really care about their patients. They do follow up calls to check in on you. They go that extra step to make you feel comfortable and valued.

Do you need a caring and professional provider? Let us help you find a doctor today!!

“You Look Great — For Your Age .”

Women are beautiful at every age, so why do people feel its a need to qualify your appearance ?

No one tells a 20, 30 or even 40 year old that they look beautiful for their age. And yet it happens, sometime after 40, there is an invisible beauty boundary that people cross where they feel the need to qualify their compliments or assessment of your appearance.

“The thing is, women are constantly given these backhanded compliments, which might as well have big fat asterisks at the end of them. In fact, according to a study from RoC, 82 percent of women have been told they look “great for their age” in the past year alone, though most say they’d rather not be complimented at all than given one with such a qualifier. While the intention of such comments may be good, they’re actually loaded with the implicit bias that being younger is better and that the recipient’s best years are behind her. In reality, a true compliment would sound like this: “You look great.” Period. RoC and Allure have teamed up with a group of gorgeous, accomplished women to explain why thinking twice before saying, “You look great for your age,” is so important.”(1)

I had this experience , yet again,  the other day visiting my son at work. I settled in at my table and asked the waitress to please let her manager know I was there and wanted to speak with him. She said “who should I tell him is here?” I said “his mom.” She immediately seemed shocked and said “Wow, I didn’t know and you look so young for your age.” I quipped back with a funny line, I had him at ten or something. She then rambled on “ He is like 30 or something right, you still look great.” She continued on about good genes, cosmetics and I should go girl! I wanted to blurt out, what were you expecting a crone!

My son walked over in time to save her from my indignation. I told him what she said and he said “mom, I always say you look young.” At thirty something he didn’t quite get that “looking young” should not be the baseline for beauty. What will happen when I stop looking young, will I suddenly become something or someone else?

I know both were trying to compliment me, but at the same time, why is the expectation that the mom of a thirty something or more has to look or be old ? These types of compliments are a double edged sword.  We all appreciate being flattered or complimented, why is there the need to add in “for your age “?

“Language matters. When talking about a woman over, say, 40, people tend to add qualifiers: “She looks great…for her age” or “She’s beautiful…for an older woman.” Catch yourself next time and consider what would happen if you just said, “She looks great.” Yes, Americans put youth on a pedestal. But let’s agree that appreciating the dewy rosiness of youth doesn’t mean we become suddenly hideous as years go by. “(2)

Getting older does not mean you’re still not beautiful inside and out. It does not mean that we have to accept being considered less because we have reached some time stamp with a cultural age bias on beauty. What it does mean is we are all aging gracefully!

I am convinced part of combating this is how we carry and counter these situations when we are faced with them. I choose to always have the heart and spirit of my twenty year old self with the wisdom and patience of my true years. This makes any woman a beautiful force to be reckoned with at any age.

For me, I simply smiled at my son and said I will take that martini now.

(1)https://www.allure.com/branded/article/alr/why-you-should-think-twice-before-saying-you-look-great-for-your-age
(2)https://www.allure.com/story/allure-magazine-phasing-out-the-word-anti-aging


It’s Not the Holidays – it’s My Hormones!

Many people are negatively affected by hormonal imbalances. When you add stress to that imbalance, it can often cause chaos on our bodies, mind, and life. Holidays are known to present stress to people for many reasons.  Stress tolerance and how we react to it varies with each person.  Men and women often deal with stress very differently.  It could be concerns on money and holiday spending, or missing lost loved ones, and just overwhelming demands on your energy and time.  Some people who are already hormonally imbalanced will worsen during the holidays and make this time incredibly difficult for themselves and family.

” ‘Stress’ may be defined as any situation which tends to disturb the equilibrium between a living organism and its environment. In day-to-day life there are many stressful situations such as stress of work pressure, examinations, psychosocial stress and physical stresses due to trauma, surgery and various medical disorders.” (1)

Even if you’re not already hormonally imbalanced, undue stress can trigger an issue or imbalance.

“In response to stress, the level of various hormones changes. Reactions to stress are associated with enhanced secretion of a number of hormones including glucocorticoids, catecholamines, growth hormone and prolactin, the effect of which is to increase mobilization of energy sources and adapt the individual to its new circumstance.”(2)

Our body goes into a flight or fight mode with stress. This is not conducive for festive holiday gatherings.

“In a healthy body, once the stress has passed and Cortisol levels decrease, the hypothalamus signals to the pituitary and adrenals to stop hormone production. But this doesn’t happen when chronic stress is involved.  It becomes a loop of continual release of all the stress hormones. The result is dysfunction in the HPA axis (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal).  When levels of these hormones, particularly Cortisol, remain elevated in the body, specific symptoms will begin to occur.” (3)

The response in someone who is not healthy or already has hormonal imbalance due to menopause or andropause may result in my many uncomfortable symptoms.

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

If you have been told that your hormone levels are within a normal range, the following signs may be indicative of a potential hormonal war:

  1.     fatigue
  2.     mood instability
  3.     weight gain
  4.     “foggy brain” or memory loss
  5.     adult acne
  6.     hair loss or excessive facial hair growth
  7.     lower sex drive
  8.     extreme PMS

These symptoms can reduce quality of life and increase chances of secondary healthy concerns if you don’t regain hormonal balance. There are solutions, however, and you don’t have to acquiesce to a lower quality of life. If you suspect that you might suffer from a hormonal imbalance, the first step is to consult with a medical professional.” (4)

Sometimes you find yourself second guessing or making excuses for not feeling as you should. The holidays bring on a lot of pleasure but also stress. If you feel as if you’re not yourself, or you have any of these symptoms, contact us today so we can help get your holiday and life back on track for the new year.

https://vimeo.com/371489730

Sources: 

(1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079864/
(2) ibid\
(3) https://www.functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com/8-signs-stress-causing-hormonal-imbalance/\
(4)https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neuroscience-in-everyday-life/201807/is-hormonal-imbalance-making-you-crazy-moody-or-overweight

Gratitude is Healthy

This month we are raising awareness of the positive implications of Gratitude.  Many people who practice or feel gratitude in their daily lives feel happier and healthier.

Our lives are busy, often stressed and can be overwhelmed with petty details or issues that may seem important in that moment yet are not life changing. We tend to focus on the negative and forget to appreciate the positive when there are so many blessings around us. Feeling gratitude is not only important for a more positive emotional and psychological perspective, but as science is finding to our overall health.

https://vimeo.com/366577312

Grateful individuals experience a wide variety of social and psychological health benefits (see e.g., Emmons & Mishra, 2011; Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010 for a review). However, few studies have examined whether dispositional gratitude might also predict physical health benefits. One possible reason is that the pathways between gratitude and physical health are less easily described than those between the trait and either social or psychological health. The current study sought to test whether grateful individuals report better physical health, and explain why these effects might occur, focusing on psychological health and health behaviors as possible intervening mechanisms. Moreover, we tested whether these pathways differ across adulthood, following recent suggestions in the personality and health literature (Hill & Roberts, 2011).(1)

This study concluded that “Dispositional gratitude predicted better self-reported physical health.”(2)

How does gratitude impact our health?

By focusing on the things we appreciate, we tend to dismiss the negative and the stress that is related to those things. Stress is unhealthy.
It causes all types of health issues and leads to unhealthy behaviors.
Gratitude helps people feel happier and these feelings generate proactive and a more preventative lifestyle choices.

“Gratitude…can be an incredibly powerful and invigorating experience,” says researcher Jeff Huffman. “There is growing evidence that being grateful may not only bring good feelings. It could lead to better health.” (2)

It’s ironic that science is just confirming what makes just good common sense.  When your life and energy is directed towards positive thinking and activities, it makes you happy.

But what do you do if you’re in an unhappy or unhealthy situation now?

It’s often hard to find those bright spots when you’re not feeling grateful or happy. Take a step back and think about the positive in your life and focus on that. If you’re having issues finding anything, seek support from others as closer intimate relationships or interactions lead to happiness and more gratitude.

Are you truly grateful for the good things in your life—or do you take them for granted?

Take the Quiz: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/gratitude

Grateful people are happy people, research shows. But how grateful are you? To find out—and discover steps for promoting even more gratitude in your life—take this quiz, which is based on a scale developed by psychologists Mitchel Adler and Nancy Fagley. (4)

Sources:
(1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489271/
(2)ibid
(3)https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/is_gratitude_good_for_your_health
(4)https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/gratitude

Maintaining High Standards in Patient Care

As a medical professional my expectations are high for my staff in how they treat others. I always strive for excellence of service for our patients.  At times where the role is reversed, and I become the patient at other medical facilities, it is frustrating for me, what so many others experience elsewhere.

Where is the kindness?

I don’t know what’s happened to medical staffing and kindness anymore.

Recently, my significant other needed an MRI. The process to get an appointment was horrific.

On two occasions, we were taken off a schedule with two different companies to have a MRI procedure.

It seems the staff in both places couldn’t be bothered to look ahead at their schedules to see they either gave us the wrong location or told us we are going to have to move you as we have booked two people at your time slot.

Guess what you’re the lucky winner who gets to move is what I heard her say to me on the phone.

How did we become so lucky?

When they made the appointment last week there was no one else there at this exact time. As a patient, I am furious. As a medical professional it makes me seriously assess the sad state of healthcare.

In today’s electronic world how does this happen? Where is the email with the appointment schedule with the correct location address? How about a reminder phone call saying you are being seen at this time and location.  How about the fact that perhaps just perhaps you make two appointments at the same time doesn’t a big red X come up on the screen shouting heads up there is someone already there.

Being in this industry I know how the electronic medical charting and scheduling process work. This is just a case of people not paying attention to the details. I’m only a number and my inconvenience does not seem to matter to anyone.  They squeezed him in late in the day.  Driving to get there on time with traffic and accidents, I kindly called to inform them we might be late.  Again, not a response I wanted to hear back was, well if you aren’t here by 6pm we are locking the doors. Shock and dismay took over and I drove the best we could to get there before 6pm.  When we walked in, you could cut the air with a knife. I felt as if she was so put out that she had to stay and help someone else.  As soon as he was checked in, she left without saying goodbye.

Where has compassion and courtesy gone when they can’t even say we are so sorry we messed up. Not one apology from either one facility.

Where do ethics come into play in the medical world when people are needing that bit of compassion and concern. Did the appointment scheduler even stop to think that perhaps pushing their appointment a week or two out might be damaging to this person’s health or life?   I’m thinking not.

The Short Straw

They are only concerned with the fact that they have two people on the same time and hey we got the short straw to move yet again.

Well, I’m not into short straws anymore and I bet you aren’t either.

It’s frustrating on a personal level and on a professional level.  I want to go in and hug my staff for maintaining higher standards and treating patients as valued customers not like interchangeable straws.

CarolAnn Tutera Guest Host on 99.9KEZ

CarolAnn Tutera will be the guest host for two hours on 11/24 on 99.9KEZ The Holiday Station helping to bring in this season with health and holiday spirit!!

Listen in and enjoy the beautiful music and CarolAnn talk about hormonal balance.

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE STATION.

Friends

There is a saying that we have friends for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime.  Think about the people in your life and what they mean to you. Think about how their friendship has a reason.  Does it feel more like a season or someone you know in your heart you will love forever?  We have work friends, activity or play friends, close friends and acquaintance friends. They are all here to help us get through a hard time, project or just the day-to-day grind of life. They are all here to help us in that moment and place in time for a reason. They are always here to help us learn an important lesson and help us grow. When we think of seasonal friends, we can think of friends that were there during our childhood, ones we fallen out of touch with or friends that we knew a while and hung out with at various times. And then there’s the category of those friends we’ve known our entire lives or will know for the rest of our lives. They feel more like family than our family.  The hard part for many of us is knowing and recognizing the difference in these types of friends and our expectations of other people in our lives . Does it even matter – if the connection makes you happier? My one group of friends were upset with me because I held them to the same standard of behavior and reactions that I had for myself. This doesn’t seem fair because we don’t have friends who we expect to do the exact same things that we do. We need friends to challenge us, help us grow and let us know when we are off track ourselves. If we want a friend that acts and responds just as we do -then get a mirror.  Often we need friends to do the exact opposite of what we do to be a good counter balance in our lives.

Friendship becomes even more important as we get older just as it was in childhood. Our ideas and connections with friends help us grow and transform. As we age our friends become our support network. One of the biggest challenges for people as they age is loneliness. “Loneliness and social isolation are growing public-health concerns for people of all ages in the United States, from young adults to seniors. Studies have long connected loneliness to a range of health issues that could threaten longevity and well-being, including higher risks of heart attacks, strokes, depression, anxiety and early death.
In the study sponsored by the AARP, researchers from the University of Michigan surveyed a group of about 2,000 Americans ages 50 to 80. More than a third of seniors in the poll said they felt a lack of companionship at least some of the time, and 27% said they sometimes or often felt isolated; most of the people who said they lacked companionship also felt isolated, and vice versa. Almost 30% said they socialized with friends, family or neighbors once a week or less.”(1)
Science has proven what many of us already knew -friends make you feel better. Whether the friend is there for a reason, season or lifetime -nurture them and enjoy the benefits.Perhaps that is why social media is so popular as it makes us feel less isolated and more connected. But, relying on these apps is no replacement for the actual companionship found in real friends of any reason, season or lifetime.

(1)https://time.com/5541166/loneliness-old-age/