The Health Benefits of Massages

They release stress and anxiety: Modern life is full of stress, but massages make you feel calmer and more relaxed. If your life has you feeling overwhelmed, schedule an appointment with a massage therapist today.

They relieve pain: Messages relieve many forms of pain, including chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, fibromyalgia pain, pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and postoperative pain.

They reduce muscle tension: Muscle tension can lead to muscle pain, back pain, and stiffness. Getting a massage relaxes your muscles, helping to alleviate these symptoms and leaving you feeling looser and happier.

You exercise better after a massage: If you work out or participate in a sport, a massage can put you at your peak performance.

They help you sleep better: If you suffer from insomnia, or just have been feeling tired lately, a relaxing massage can help you get the rest you need.

They improve your heart health: Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of deaths in Americans. But by reducing stress and improving your circulation, messages can make your heart healthier.

They improve balance in older people: Misaligned joints and stiff muscles can cause older people to feel off-balance, which can cause pain and difficulty walking, and put them more at risk for falls. A massage can improve balance for a short period of time, and regular massages can have longer-term effects.

They improve flexibility and range of motion: If you’re struggling to touch your toes, a massage can improve your flexibility by reducing pain and muscle stiffness.

They help people with cancer: Cancer patients can benefit from messages. Cancer treatment is extremely stressful, and massages can help alleviate that stress. Additionally, massages may help reduce the nausea that results from chemotherapy.

They reduce headaches: If you experience frequent tension headaches, or even migraines, the frequency of these headaches will decrease after a massage.

They improve your mental health: Just by reading the other health benefits on this list, you can probably see how a message can be great for your mental health. If you’re sleeping well, feeling good during exercise, less stressed, pain- and tension-free, and just feeling overall healthier, your mental health will improve. And for older patients, regular massages can even temper the effects of dementia.

They boost your immunity: People who get massages are less likely to fall ill when cold and flu season hits the workplace, by reducing risk factors such as stress and insomnia, and increasing levels of oxytocin in the blood which has an impact on mood.

Consume your Way to Fight Inflammation

Our body is devised with an amazingly astonishing mechanism: when an alien object tries to enter your body, it works to shield itself from the foreign element. 

The immune system of our body is designed in such a way that, when it fights off invaders like plant pollens or chemical elements of a microbe, the body reacts to the process in multiple ways. One of the reactions is inflammation.

Inflammation is the defense process of our immune system in which a part of the body becomes red and begins to swell. This is a perfectly natural reaction to an infection or an injury, as your blood cells rush to the area to assist in healing. However, if the inflammation persists chronically, the repercussions can turn life threatening. 

Sometimes inflammation occurs without an infection or a bruise caused by external factors, and that is when you need to start paying attention. Inflammation can be a gateway to a number of fatal illnesses like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, depression, and even Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. 

Remedies to combat inflammation lie in our kitchens. Many experimental studies have concluded that consuming right nutrients can actually influence the onset, or stymie the occurrence, of inflammation in the human body.

Here are some of the most dangerous foods to consume for their role in causing inflammation:

  • Overconsumption of refined carbohydrates like white bread, pastries, and white rice to name a few examples.  If the bread is soft and easily compressed most likely it’s going to quickly turn into sugar in one’s body.
  • Fried foods and other pre-prepared packaged junk foods such chips that are excessively consumed can speed up the occurrence of inflammation.
  • Sugar-laden and sweetened beverages, drinks, sodas, and over consumption of alcohol.  The liquid consumption of sugar causes other health hazards too, besides inflammation and fuels the metabolic syndrome affecting many today.
  • Processed meat like hot dogs, sausages, salami, bacon, luncheon meats.
  • Corn fed red meat like steaks, burgers, and other “meat pie” dishes.
  • Spreads of animal fat origin like margarine, lard, and shortening.

It is not a revelation that most of the food items mentioned above are associated with diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity since inflammation is an underlying cause of each of these diseases.

What must be consumed to keep inflammation at bay?

Take a look at some of the best fresh foods, preferably organic, you can consume to reduce inflammation:

  • Fibrous green leafy and cruciferous vegetables like spinach, collards, lettuce, swiss chards, kale, broccoli trying to go for various colors of the rainbow
  • Tomatoes, which contain anti-inflammatory compounds such as lycopene.
  • Almonds, walnuts, and cashews
  • Fruits, including citruses, like oranges, cherries, strawberries, and other berries
  • Fatty fish like sardines packed in water or olive oil, mackerel, wild salmon and, herring, and black cod. If eating these fish is not possible than take a high quality fish oil supplement
  • Lets not forget about the mushrooms.  If available in your area maitake, shiitake, enokitake, and oyster mushrooms provide powerful health benefits.
  • Beverages like green or white tea, matcha, and coffee have anti-inflammatory benefits too, but mind the additives, which can negate the benefits.

The Mediterranean diet, which is composed primarily of plant, healthy fat and protein consumption, is said to be an ideal and healthy dietary lifestyle if one wishes to lean towards anti-inflammatory eating.

3 Common Complementary Health Practices

In healthcare you’ll often hear the words “alternative”, “integrative”, and “complementary” being used, sometimes interchangeably, but they each denote a different practice of medicine. “Alternative” medicine is the term for when you substitute conventional treatments with unconventional or non-mainstream ones, using the unconventional method in place of standard practice. “Complementary” medicine practices involve supplementing conventional practices with non-mainstream practices. Finally, “integrative” health practices are ones that bring together conventional health practices with complementary ones in order to give the most holistic solutions for and picture of health.

Incorporating these practices into your daily life doesn’t have to change your entire world, but the impact that taking better care of your mind and body could have can be life-changing. Here are a few common complementary health practices you can integrate into your daily life.

  • Deep Breathing

    • When we’re experiencing situations of high-stress or pain, one of our bodies’ natural reactions is to hold our breath during the incident. However, deep breathing not only helps to relax you but can help you fight pain and reduce your stress levels. During periods of stress, practicing deep breathing can help you retrain your body to control its release of stress hormones which, long-term, have damaging effects on your body. Whether you suffer from stress often or rarely at all, anyone can benefit from controlled and mindful deep breathing. The 4-7-8 breathing method is one that I highly recommend using.

  • Yoga

    • Yoga uses poses, meditation, and breathing exercises to bring the mind and body together. The practice is thousands of years old, with the word “yoga” translating from Sanskrit as “union.” It is a relatively low-impact and safe means of exercise, especially for those who may not be able to participate in high-impact workouts. In the United States, yoga is the sixth most commonly practiced complementary health exercise and has been proven to aid in the relief of a number of health concerns. It has been shown to help reduce the severity of anxiety, insomnia, and depression. It’s also linked to lower stress levels, lower heart rate, and increases your overall flexibility, balance, and strength. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is also actively supporting research that looks into the effects that yoga may have on diabetes, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, HIV, and the immune system.

  • Massage

    • As frivolous and extravagant as treating yourself to a massage can feel, they can actually provide a number of benefits that go beyond simply feeling relaxed; it has been proven effective in reducing stress, relieving pain, and releasing muscle tension. Although further study is needed to prove the benefits conclusively, some reports show that it may also prove beneficial for those suffering from headaches, anxiety, sports injuries, stress-related insomnia, digestive problems, fibromyalgia, and more.

Houseplants to Help You Breath Easily

The average adult American spends 8.8 hours a day working and 7.8 hours a night sleeping. That means that nearly 16 hours each day or two-thirds of our lives are split between only two spaces where we work, socialize, eat and drink, and most importantly, breathe. This means that any allergens, dust, pollen, and chemicals that wind up in the air of your home or workspace are being filtered through your lungs constantly during those hours. The levels of airborne pollutants can be anywhere from two to 100 times more concentrated than levels outdoors. Cleaning products,      even things that are fire retardant or waterproof can contain chemicals that are able to leech into the air and thus, into our bodies.

These airborne toxins and chemicals can lead to health problems like headaches, sinus pressure, nausea, difficulty breathing, and can even exacerbate existing medical conditions like asthma, respiratory conditions, and allergies. Fortunately, it’s easy for you to do your part to help keep the air you breathe cleaner and healthier; all you need are some potted plants!

Plant life converts CO2 into oxygen through photosynthesis, and it filters the air around it in the process. Keeping a few specific plants around your home and office can help remove chemicals and toxins. To help you breathe easier and healthier, here are a few houseplants to keep around that will help filter your air.

Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum

Bromeliad – Bromeliaceae

  • If you want a functional plant that doesn’t require too much maintenance and will also liven up the room, bromeliads are a good choice for you. They actively work to clean the air at night, and are hearty enough that they don’t require much water or sunlight to do so. Oh, and they’re incredibly vibrantly colored.

Aloe VeraAloe Vera

  • If you sunburn easily, chances are in the summer months you’ve eased the pain with some sort of aloe vera-based lotion. Aloe vera’s use dates back to 2100 BCE, and its mineral-and-vitamin-rich composition has kept it relevant ever since. It’s used in everything from lotions to cosmetics to even food (where the list of the plants’ benefits extends even further), and it also made NASA’s list of plants that help improve air quality. Like the spider plant, aloe vera also removes formaldehyde from the air.

Bamboo Palm – Dypsis lutescens

  • The third most effective at overall purification, the bamboo palm needs a bit more room than some of the others but will definitely make up for it with the benefits it provides. NASA found that bamboo is effective at not only removing formaldehyde but also benzene, a chemical found in gasoline and crude oil, and trichloroethylene, a chemical often found in solvents. As a bonus, it doesn’t require too much water and sunlight.

Aside from purifying the air, houseplants can provide your home or workspace with other benefits. Because plants undergo transpiration during which they emit water vapors, they can also work to help you control the levels of humidity in your room or home.

There are countless benefits to incorporating houseplants and greenery into your home, office, and life.

Foods That Keep You Fuller Longer

Let’s face it, one of the most difficult things to do while trying to lose weight is portion control. We’ve all been there. I mean, if you love food, cutting it back can be quite a task! Won’t it be awesome if there was a way to eat fewer calories and still not have to starve yourself to death? Well, I am here to tell you, there is! The best way to do this is to pick food items that are healthy, low in calories and still keep you full for a longer time. So, give your unhealthy snacks the boot and try these wholesome foods that will keep you fuller longer!

1. Eggs

Eggs, preferably organic, are arguably the best breakfast food. They have a great combination of protein and fat that satisfy hunger than almost any other breakfast food. Research has also shown that people eating eggs for breakfast take a longer time to feel hungry. Eggs can suppress the release of a hormone called Ghrelin which is an appetite-stimulating hormone telling the brain to eat. Many people try to avoid eggs because of the cholesterol. However, studies have shown that the cholesterol content in eggs is not the main culprit of causing high cholesterol levels. If you are still concerned, you can try eating egg whites that have no cholesterol whatsoever.

2. Legumes and beans

All kinds of beans, lentils, and chickpeas are full of lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. This combination can keep you full for a longer time. Research has shown that the combination of these three ingredients can help to stabilize the blood glucose level leading to the feeling of satiety for a longer time. As a bonus beans and legumes have a ton of fiber as well. And the fact that they taste so good is a huge plus too; don’t you think?

3. Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt, or how I like to call it “Real Yogurt”, is a delicious way to cut down the calories and still staying full. It is packed with protein, calcium and has very few calories. The high protein content keeps you full longer. As a matter of fact, one six-ounce serving of Greek yogurt has about 15-20 grams of protein. Protein makes you feel satisfied for a longer time and does not cause a spike in insulin levels either. The combined effect is you eat less and feel full longer! As not to offend other nationalities, Icelandic, Swiss, Blugarian and Indian yogurt are also outstanding.

4. Almonds and other nuts

It is no secret that nuts are good for you. They are packed with healthy fat that is good for the heart. They also have a lot of fiber, especially Almonds. The high fiber content of almonds keeps you full for a long time. So, instead of eating any processed snack, try a few almonds during your mid-day snack breaks. They are delicious, nutritious and keep you full longer. What else can you ask for, right?

5. Water

Yes, good old water, preferably filtered! Water has no calories at all and occupies a lot of space in your stomach. Apart from the obvious benefits of keeping yourself hydrated, water can also reduce your appetite. A study had shown that participants who drank just one glass of water before each meal, consumed up to 90 fewer calories per meal. So, raise your glasses, to H2O!

6. Avocadoes

Avocados are nature’s gift to humanity! They are rich in heart-healthy fats and did I say delicious! They also have a lots of fiber as well. The combination of monounsaturated fat and fiber make them ideal for keeping you fuller longer. Try and include Avocadoes in your meals. They go great in salads and sandwiches as well!

7. Apples

When they said, an apple a day keeps the doctor away; they were not exaggerating. Well, maybe a little bit! Nonetheless, apples are perfect for snacking in between your meals. They are rich in fiber and vitamins and of course delicious. If you feel a bit peckish during the day, grab an organic apple rather than a bag of chips from the vending machine!

Six Superfoods That Might Help Boost Your Brain Power

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy for your brain to get overstimulated, overwhelmed and overworked. If you need a bit of a brain boost, finding help may be as easy as making a trip to the supermarket. Recent studies have shown that eating certain superfoods have brain benefits like helping with memory, energy, and concentration. Here is a closer look at six superfoods that may help boost your brain power.


  1. Walnuts: Lots of nuts are healthy, but walnuts pack a special punch of energy thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids that they contain. In fact, they contain more of these fatty acids than any other nut. These essential fatty acids protect brain cells and help neurotransmitters function more effectively which can help with impaired cognition and memory. They also contain healing B6 vitamins and magnesium and fight inflammation and improve blood flow in the brain.
  2. Dark Chocolate: This sweet treat is more than an absolutely delicious dessert or snack. Dark chocolate is jam-packed with antioxidants which help with mental acuity and other functions that help protect the systems in your body. Dark chocolate also helps improve concentration and blood flow, so add a little of this sweet stuff to your daily dessert menu.
  3. Coffee: One of the mornings best companions and one of the most popular caffeinated drinks, coffee has been shown to improve mental clarity and its rich antioxidants help maintain good brain health. Some research even suggests that it may help treat depression, but the science is still not solid on this point yet. 
  4. Avocados: This creamy and delicious green fruit (that many mistake for a vegetable) is one of the healthiest fruits on the planet thanks to its high level of monounsaturated fats. With monounsaturated fat levels similar to those found in the olive, avocadoes help improve blood flow not only to the brain but to all of the vessels in the body while also helping to lower bad cholesterol levels.
  5. Lentils: These tasty seeds can be added to a soup, salad, or chili to make for a delicious, healthy addition to your meal. This legume is loaded with folate, a particular B vitamin that helps improve brain power. They also lower levels of amino acids that can impair brain functioning, so load up on some healthy lentils.
  6. Olive oil: Healthy not only for dietary purposes, olive oil is also a superfood that can give you super brain power. It’s a great source of monounsaturated fats, like the avocado, and has been proven to actually slow brain aging. It’s anti-inflammatory properties can help combat brain fog, memory loss, and other conditions that are a result of chronic inflammation. Olive oil is also part of the Mediterranean diet which is widely considered one of the most healthy diets in the world.

To learn more about how Houston Concierge Medicine & Wellness Center can develop personalized diagnostic and treatment plans using integrative medical care, call 713-333-6464 or schedule an appointment online.