Up with hope, down with dope

Is alternative medicine the better alternative?

Courtesy photo

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

There I was sitting at the traffic light at 19th and Yale. I was so ready to get home. All I could think about was a glass of wine and Black Mirror on Netflix when….I hear a loud screech. I turn my head to the left just in time to see an old Mercedes strike the driver's side grill of my car. I was hit.

The next morning, I could barely walk to the bathroom. My hips, lower back, neck, and shoulder were in pain. Later that day, I went to the doctor to get my diagnosis. After some very expensive tests and scans, (thank god insurance was paying for it) I was diagnosed with whiplash and muscle strains. What do you think happened next? If you guessed the doctor wrote me a prescription for pain pills, you are right.

Don't get me wrong. I partied like it was 1999 in 1999 and I'm no prude, but I'm getting tired of having to pop a pill when maybe there is a better alternative out there. And since I'm not footing the bill, I decided to try something new. I took to the internet. After some research, I decided that cryotherapy, sports massage, and acupuncture looked interesting. Over the last few weeks, I received all three treatments. This is how it went:

Myofascial Release


Rene treats his patients with tender hands.


Because of running, I have had many sports massages. It was my first go-to, however, I needed to find a new masseur. I remembered that I recently met a massage therapist at a networking event. His name was Rene and he owned Massage Innovations. So, I gave him a shot.

The first thing Rene did was check my posture. He was looking for the alignment of my body at my shoulders, hips, and feet. This gives him a visual of what might be wrong. After, the assessment, Rene decides that the best treatment for me was not a sports massage, but a Myofascial Release.

"I'm beginning to hear a lot about fascia," I say "exactly what is it?" He goes on to educate me.

Fascia is the weblike organ that holds your other organs, muscles, and tendons in place. Years ago, when dissecting cadavers, med students were told to move it aside. Now, we know, it is really important to our health and fitness. In fact, if we experience physical trauma (like a wreck), are dehydrated, have a bad diet, or you have a lot of wear and tear on your muscles due to training, your fascia gets sticky or torn. This causes pain. Myofascial release is also great for people with cancer because it relieves pain without being to harsh on the patient.

So how does he do it? After putting me in position, starting from my head and working his way down, he gently applies pressure while making swooping motions on my skin. I can literally feel the pressure manipulate the fascia just beneath my skin. I was definitely impressed. I knew that I would have to come back for more visits, but on to the next method.

Cryotherapy



This method is all the rage nowadays. Cryotherapy spas are opening all over Houston. What is cryotherapy?

Cold therapy has been used in the medical and sports industry for years. When you see NFL athletes soaking in a bathtub full of ice water or when a doctor sprays his patient with localized nitrogen gas before surgery, that’s cold therapy. If you aren't an NFL player or having surgery, how does this help you?

To experience cryotherapy and get the answers to these questions, I chose Defy Cryotherapy Studio. Wait, I have to give props to Aubrey. I called the day before and grilled him with about 25 questions. He patiently answered all of them and I could see the smile on his face through the phone.

Aubrey explained that Cryotherapy is a breathable air system where instead of sitting in an ice bath for extended period of time, you are exposed to cold, dry air for a short period of time. Cryotherapy is great for injuries, pain relief, weight loss, and better sleep. When the body undergoes extremely cold temperatures for short periods of time, it has to recover quickly. Cryotherapy acts like a switch that accelerates blood circulation and metabolism. Over time, it benefits our overall wellness.

So when I arrived, I was given a full tour of the spa. We entered the Cryo Room. There stood a tall white chamber tall enough for you to stand in. The chamber uses liquid nitrogen to create the purely cold, breathable air. This is why Defy is different. They are equipped with second generation chambers which allows you to include your entire body including your head in the procedure.

"What am I supposed to do while I'm in here?" It was suggested that I count aloud and do shadow boxing. It was quite an experience. I was in the chamber for two minutes with knee high socks, gloves, a face mask, and slippers. As told, I made sure to breathe through my nose to get the full benefit. When my time was up, I got out and felt so energetic. My skin felt almost effervescent. I'm definitely going back for more and the float room. But, Ihad two more experiments to try.

Chiropractor

The last chiropractor I went to flipped me over and spanked me. I have yet to return.

Acupuncture


A steady hand is needed to administer acupuncture.


I'll have to be honest. I have already received acupuncture treatments a few years ago for another matter. I have never used it to relieve muscle pain, so I had to try it. I went back to my prior Acupuncturist named Danny Ting. He is the owner of Ting Acupuncture. Most of us have heard or seen pictures of those little needles penetrating skin, but how does it work?

It it really cool. Danny assesses the problem based on what your diagnosis is. He lays you on a massage table and tells you to get comfortable. After he exposes the area that needs treatment, he slips hairlike needles into the trigger points of the injured area.

Next question: Does it hurt?

Not usually. You may experience discomfort due to inflammation, scar tissue, and being tense. He turns out the lights, tells you to take a nap, and leaves the room. You get to jam out to the soft melody of the Asian harp.The needles are left in for 30 minutes. Sometimes, for more intense treatment, he attaches wires to some of the needles, shines a hot lamp over the area, and sends electric pulses through the needles to your muscles. I'm not going to lie, It is really intense. Your muscle feels like its jumping up and down. But, it works.

Next question: What else is acupuncture good for?

Acupuncture is used to treat anything and everything from menopause symptoms, heart disease, depression, weight loss, and alcohol and drug addiction

Last question: Which is the best?

Take your pick. I was impressed with all three methods. Honestly, I'm really curious about the weight loss promises. I'm going back to all three.

To learn more about these methods, visit MassageInnovation.com, defy-studio.com, and omdclinic.com

... and don't forget the seeds!

Stay hydrated this summer with your food

Theindianspot.com

Beat that summer heat while living in Texas. Did you know there are several fruits and vegetables that are packed with over 90% of water? More water, means less in calories. So, while you are out shopping for groceries this week, be sure to pick up your water friendly fruits and veggies. Add these 5 below to your grocery list and stay hydrated through the summer. And don't forget to make sure to pick up the watermelon, but WITH seeds. There are so many health benefits to watermelon seeds, check them out below.

1) Tomato

2) Lettuce

3) Red Pepper

4) Celery

5) Cucumber

6) Watermelon


Tomato- Between 93-96% water

Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

Lettuce- 96% water

Romaine lettuce has about 8 calories and 1-2 grams of carbohydrates per cup. Although it's low in fiber, it's high in minerals, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium. It's naturally low in sodium. Plus, romaine lettuce is packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate.

Calories: 8 calories Fiber: 1 g Total fat: 0.1 g

Red Peppers- 94%water

Serving Size: 1 medium. Calories: 31-37; 169% of the RDA for vitamin C. Red Peppers also contain 3 mg of vitamin B6. Vitamin K1, is a form of vitamin K, known as phylloquinone, K1 is important for blood clotting and bone health. Potassium, is an essential mineral may improve heart health. Folate, or Vitamin B9 has a variety of functions in your body. Adequate folate intake is very important during pregnancy. Red Pepper Amount: 54.7 mcg.

  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Sugar: 4.2 grams
  • Fiber: 2.1 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams

Celery- 95% water

Celery is very low in calories and carbohydrate. One medium stalk contains a mere 6 calories and 1.2 grams of carbohydrate. Half of the carbohydrate content in celery comes from fiber, making it a good source of fiber. One stalk of celery has a minimal amount of protein, with less than one-third of a gram per serving.

Cucumber- 96-97% water

There are just 16 calories in a cup of cucumber with its peel (15 without). You will get about 4 percent of your daily potassium, 3 percent of your daily fiber and 4 percent of your daily vitamin C. They also provide small amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, manganese and vitamin A.

Last, not least, my favorite...….

Watermelon- 92-94% water

Watermelon is delicious and refreshing, with tons of nutritious seeds. Even though most people spit them out, that is often a big mistake. And don't worry, unlike what you believed as a kid, if you swallow these seeds you will not grow a watermelon in your stomach.

Watermelon seeds come from the watermelon plant, which grows on the vine. The seeds come in two main colors, white and black, which are the immature (white) and fully developed (black) seeds respectively. Both seeds are good for you, however the black ones are more rich in nutrients and antioxidants. So if you have to choose, black seeds over white, or just both, there are hundreds in a watermelon.

Little fun fact that not many know. Watermelon seeds are pack with high levels of protein and amino acids. About 60% of your daily requirements can come from 1 cup of dried watermelon seeds. These seeds also have high levels of Vitamin B, as well as magnesium, zinc, copped, potassium, copper, manganese, and iron. Also, a diverse rang of fats, such as omega 3, omega 6 fatty acids, and smaller saturated fats. The nutrient density also comes along with a high-calorie count – a cup of dried watermelon seeds contains roughly 600 calories.

There are plenty of other health benefits to Watermelons seeds. Another surprisingly fun fact about watermelon seeds is, it's ability to boost hair health (growth, strong, prevent breakage, or split ends), support your skin (moisturize, wrinkles, skin elasticity, acne), increase energy, lower blood pressure, stimulate digestion, regulate blood sugar, and lower cholesterol levels. I am about to blow your mind with more benefits from eating these little black seeds everyone would always spit out.

These seeds can also help with growth and development of your body's cells and tissues. Since they are packed with protein, which is composed of amino acids, this helps with the production of these tissues. Last, these seeds can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, growth and repair of various organ systems, boost fertility, increase energy levels, lower blood pressure, and improve nerve system function.

Now if ALL those health benefits don't make you get up to go buy a watermelon, then good luck this summer !




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