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Massage and the Immune System

Christmas is coming, a joy for some and stress for another, I prefer to keep my Zen and shelter myself away from the commercial rush. Keeping up my exercise routine, eating well, venturing outdoors (ha ha I am hoping).

If you experience high levels of stress you may tend to get sick more than others. A combination of stress with lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and our immune system’s ability to naturally protect itself against bacteria and infection reduces significantly.

A Massage can help your immune system?

Massage therapy promotes increased lymphatic circulation, a process whereby lymph moves throughout the body, eliminates pathogens and other waste, and increases the spread of white blood cells. Such a process serves to boost your infection-fighting capabilities.

It can also can reduce your levels of cortisol which is a hormone associated with pressure and stress. High levels can boost blood pressure and decrease natural killer cells. Low levels, on the other hand, can allow immune cells to do their job without interference.

When you come for a massage you can choose from a blend of oils.

Lavender to help reduces anxiety and emotional stress.  Lemongrass that can also help relax and tone your muscles, as well as relieve muscle pain, mix that with bergamot and geranium and be in apothecia heaven.

A great one for the winter blues, I use my blend of thieves’ oil, which consists of clove bud, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary. These oils are very well known for their protective properties and the story of the “four thieves” goes back to the days of the bubonic plague. The story goes that during that time, there were four thieves robbing graves of the infected who had died from the plague. The four thieves seemed to be immune, as they did not become infected. After being arrested, in exchange for their freedom, they agreed reveal the secret of why they were immune. Apparently they doused themselves with this blend of essential oils before robbing the graves and claimed this is what kept them from being infected.

Below is a study conducted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA 2010) looked at how various biomarkers responded to Swedish Massage Therapy.

https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/About-Us/News/News-Releases-2010/Adults-Demonstrate-Modified-Immune-Response-After-Receiving-Massage-Cedars-Sinai-Researchers-Show.aspx

Among the study’s results:

  1. People in the Swedish massage group experienced significant changes in lymphocytes ,(lymphocyte numbers and percentages white blood cells that play a large role in defending the body from disease.
  2. Swedish massage caused a large decrease (effect size -.74) in Arginine Vasopressin (AVP) a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior and linked to helping cause increases in the stress hormone cortisol.
  3. Swedish massage caused a decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  4. Swedish massage caused a notable decrease in most cytokines produced by stimulated white blood cells.

So don’t delay, listen to your body, have a massage as a general MOT, just as you would your car.  Look after yourself as a preventative measure.

Spring – Forage for Free!

Love  Spring – It’s the start of spring days; flowers are waiting to burst from their buds. The food we eat becomes lighter, more fresh and green. Say goodbye to hot comfort food of the winter months. We have also celebrated National Nutrition month, so here’s a couple of recipes to tickle your taste buds.

Take a walk to your local park or along the riverbank. You may be surprised what you can find to eat for free. Be careful of your pickings though as some leaves can look similar to ones that could upset your tummies.

Wild Garlic

wild garlic

It tastes much like regular garlic but has a milder flavour than cultivated cloves. The flowers appear in spring, adding lovely colour to a salad. Use the leaves to spice stir-fry, or use it to add flavour to soups.

Wild garlic is easily identifiable, forming lush green carpets in woodlands close to bluebells, and emitting a distinctive garlicky smell.

It has great health benefits too, including helping to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It’s also good for gardens thanks to its ability to ward off pests and diseases, and the juice can even be used a household disinfectant.

 Nettles


Ohh those prickly nettles! The pros of nettles outweigh the cons. They can be used to make tea, soup, pesto and much more. Packed with vitamins and minerals, nettles contain more vitamin C than oranges. Nettles should be harvested before the flowers appear in early spring and only the youngest leaves should be chosen.

 

PESTO

pesto

  • 50g wild garlic leaves (shredded)
  • 20g fresh young nettle tips
  • 10g walnuts
  • lemon juice (add to taste)
  • oil (add to taste)
  • parmesan or a hard goats cheese (add to taste)

How to make:

Put the wild garlic, nettles into a food processor, ‘blitz’ until roughly chopped. Drizzle in the oil add the grated cheese and lemon juice. Simple!

 

Dandelion 

dandelion
They have a bad reputation in the garden as a weed, but you can eat them! They are versatile, healthy and are freely available. The whole plant can be eaten: leaves in salads, sandwiches. The flowers can be used in delicious omelettes, stir-fries or any veggie dish. If you can’t wait for the buds to open, they can be marinated and used like capers for flavour. Make dandelion coffee by grinding the dried roots and use as normal. It’s totally caffeine-free.

RISOTTO

risotto

  • 1tbsp chopped dandelion
  • 1tbsp chopped wild garlic
  • 1tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 thin chopped slices of pancetta
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 80g risotto rice
  • Warm Water
  • 1 teaspoon of wild garlic pesto

How to make:

Cook the onion in the oil until translucent, add the pancetta and cook for another 5 min. Add the dandelion and wild garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the rice and toast it for 1 minute. Then add 2 ladles of water, adding more when it gets absorbed by the rice. The rice should take 20min to cook.

When the rice is cooked add the wild garlic pesto and serve.

So forget the supermarket stuff this year, take a healthy walk with the family and Forage for Free.  Its FUN, FREE and Fantastic..!