26. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Health · Tags:

I believe any educated and sensitive massage therapist will tell you that they tend to meet people who are more authentic in expressing themselves than perhaps one would just meet in an office setting. Even the same person is more authentic and gentle in a safe touch massage setting. Minimal clothing, lulling fountain sounds, the scent of lavendar, orange, sandalwood or other essential oils and music that doesn’t destroy your soul just seems to do that. Everyone needs safe touch to be comforted and to feel free to be themselves without judgement.

From my own experience, we live in a touch deprived culture. Touch someone in the workplace, even as an encouraging “good for you” pat on the back, and you might find yourself judged some kind of office pervert. Rub a back in gesture of comforting or hold a hand to say “I care about how you’re feeling,” and well, off to prison you go!! Touch in our culture is suspect and often threatening. I’m not encouraging anyone to just accept the touch of anyone they meet as well intentioned or harmless. But for the most part, out went the baby with the bathwater as usual.

I used to lay hands on people as a pastor in compliance with and hope that James 5:14-16 would bring about the desired and promised results. “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

I did this thousands of times and respectfully observe that it is not the cure for anything significant, from my perspective. I am sure however, that at times and because of the reaction of some, the touch itself was deeply appreciated and meaningful. A church or pastor that relies ONLY on this because “it’s in the Bible, God said it, I believe it, that does it for me,” is a fool and delaying help a genuinely sick person might need to receive from professionals. I’ve seen that in my past career and it’s difficult to speak of, though I was not of the anoint only perspective.

Kind, intentioned and educated touch seems to release a person from the masks we all wear. Everyone wears masks. It’s how we survive dealing with topics that we can not speak of or will receive no understanding for even thinking about. In massage, people become more openly genuine and some want to talk, at times, about what they really are thinking. Some few might wish to vent about the office envirnoment, the company or the boss, but when sharing, most simply talk about touch and why humans are so fearful of their own thoughts and needs.

“Needs”, now there is a word for you. Our Christian culture has all but beat the idea that what one needs having any validity out of the needy. Sermon after sermon over decades has made that equal with being selfish and carnal or unconverted and “of the world.” Just say “I need” to a pastor and often his own repressions will bubble up and you will receive a lecture on how the Bible tells us this or that mainly along the lines of “doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself;” Phil. 2:3 (ASV) I always wondered if we are to count all others better than ourselves and all that implies about our own selfworth, what are others supposed to do?

Everyone needs to be safely touched. One client, long ago, was very quiet as I worked on them and then suddenly said, “don’t you think it’s funny my dad never hugged me?” We chatted a bit about that but I knew that me, a stranger, touching him set off that thought in contrast to his dad, who knew him well, never hugging him. After a few minutes he said, “I don’t think I am gay.” That was also a no brainer. Here is how it worked in his mind. “I like this touch.” “Dad never hugged me.” “Yikes, I like this and this is a guy!” “I better tell him I don’t think I’m gay so he doesn’t think I am.” Interesting huh? To him, touch was needed yet had connotations that weren’t really there, but needed to be referenced. I’m not gay by the way either.

One of the things people need to practice more is the phrase “I need.” It is not selfish or crass. It is human and is the stuff that makes relationships function at a more real and authentic level. How many relationships would be better or even saved if we learned to say, “I need you not to speak to me that way.” “I need you to be around more often.” “I need you to touch me in a way that feels caring of ME.” “I need you to listen to what I think for a change.” “I need you to give me some space.” “I need variety in my life.” “I need you to take better care of yourself.” “I need you to leave the people you don’t like, the crazy relatives, the stupid boss and the damn church out of our conversations.” “I need…” Try it sometime and you might see that others also need the same. They just didn’t know you knew anything about needs.

Others talk about what they don’t need in the way of touch in their lives. They don’t need to be grabbed, or pushed. They don’t need to be slapped or pinched crudely. They don’t need to feel used and not loved. I guess this is another whole topic.

The mask that covers topics of sexuality is a biggie for ALL people. All massage is sensual even when therapeutic as touch just is that by nature. In a safe and compassionate envirnoment, many think about the place that sex has or does not have in their lives. Human sexuality and the need to express it and experience it never goes away. I always got a chuckle about how the Bible tells us that when Moses died at 110 (maybe yes, maybe no), and that ” that Moses was one hundred and ten years of age when he died–that his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated; …” This is a coded way of saying he noticed everything and could still get excited. How they knew this, I am not sure. I guess he bragged about it. But it is an old way to affirm that the man was not dead and that he was really really alive right up until he was dead. Many people I meet feel dead because they have no touch or sexual expression in their lives.

While many fundamentally religious types will deny this aspect of human need as being merely selfish and carnal, it is very normal and very necessary for a healthy life. The most extreme sexual religious ignorance I have heard to date is of one who always prayed to God they would not experience, shall we say, the unabated force, and have to have sex with a partner just for the sake of sex. Argh… no further comment. I’d say the partner is looking elsewhere in some way.

On the other hand, those that, while very religious and faithful to their church politely listen to those in authority represent “God’s view” on these topics to them every week, are very able to say that they don’t care what the minister says and their sexuality is really none of the church’s business, which it isn’t. I find so many devote believers who sturggle against what they are taught or in many cases not taught by a church. Much of that which has to do with human sexuality in the Bible is wrong and harmful to humans. It’s archaic, middle Eastern in perspective and It does control them nicely though which is perhaps it’s intent. It also promotes much anxiety and depression which are functions of an shame, guilt, fear and anger unexpressed. I have yet to meet an anxious or depressed client that is not fearful or angry about something they feel they have no right to or is too risky to express. Think about it.

I love my gay clients. There are probably no more honest, open and compassionate types of human being. They have a nature that lends itself to that and often the experience to reinforce the benefit of that way of being and thinking. They have also dealt with a lot of rejection and had to face issues of authenticity that, again, most never face, openly. Not one I know is gay by choice but rather by nature. Not one is trying to be ungay, nor should they. Everyone is a genuine human being who knows more about themselves than most will ever dare explore. I think of the one who was “outed” by a friend at Church and was given a video tape to watch on how to not be gay. If they could not change and the video did not convince them, then they were not welcome at church. Needless to say the video just didn’t work. I asked a lesbian client once why she came to me as I was, well…a man! I knew the history of abuse and was just wondering. She said the nicest thing I have ever had said to me. “Because I love what you do, I feel safe, and you are the only man that is ever going to touch me again.” Wow..but she wouldn’t let me use that in my advertising.

Everyone needs safe touch. Touch tends to send it’s message subtley but loud and clear. A client knows if I am not present in the massage by the way touch feels. One client said he’d tell me later in the session if he wanted to go for 90 minutes instead of just an hour. From my perspective, I’d like to know now as it determines what and how I do the massage, but I just said ok. I put my hands on him and made half a pass down the back when he said, “let’s do 90.” He said when I touched him, he knew he wanted to go longer. Nice compliment. It was the touch.

On occasions there might be a person who is so stressed and so angry, that they just feel that way without saying so. It is more sensing than feeling. I can feel a bad intention and it makes for a very long hour. Sometimes you just can’t put your “finger” on it but you know that all is not well. That’s how touch works too. Just the energy people give out can inform you long before they ever get near enough to touch you. It’s why we can feel great or bad when some people walk in the room. Even without touching us, they are getting to us.

So think about how you touch and why. The mantra for many is sadly “don’t touch me,” and that also needs to be respected. I believe much obesity is a subconscious message to “stay away form me.” Research tells us that 80% of all obese females have experienced sexual abuse. Sounds high to me, but might be close. Even untouch or ungentled, as the term is used, RATS, die sooner and don’t survive surgeries as well as those who are oft gentled or touched. How much more so our partners, family members, children and even ourselves. Watch even how others soothe and touch themselves to see that even unconsciously our brain tells our hands to comfort us in time of need.

19. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Sports · Tags:

Athletes struggle and compete against each other to win the coveted trophy and award. Trophies, awards and accolades inspire moral, and encourage the fighting sprit within people. So what are the origins of the trophy? How did the practice of giving awards come about? Here is the story.

The year is March AD 978. Britain’s King Edward was riding on the outskirts of the city on a hunt. Soon, he was drinking and making merry when suddenly from behind, he was stabbed with a knife and died on the spot. Subsequently, in order to prevent the recurrence of similar assassinations, British rulers developed a banquet etiquette which doubled up as an assassination defense: a cup filled with wine would be passed around the drinkers, and people stood up to crowd around the drinker as a form of protection. After the cup was used for drinking sessions after a week later, the cup became a potent symbol of a precious gift. In later ages, people followed on this tradition to award the cup as a form of reward and recognition to the deserving recipient.

This carried on to evolve into the trophies of modern sporting competitions. With the increase in sports and competition events, the production and design of trophies, cups and awards continually underwent a process of refinement and improvement to include new shapes and styles. The trophy became pregnant with meaning and some became valued as precious works of art.

Some of the most famous trophies in the world are associated with the name of the sports sponsor or the donor of the trophy. Often, these trophies go on to become prestigious events known throughout the world. For example is the International Badminton Championships Men’s Team Champions Cup, Thomas Cup. In 1939 British badminton player Thomas made a donation for the trophy. In his honor, the trophy was called the Thomas Cup. In more recent years, trophies have been associated with corporate sponsors. A good example would be the Barclay’s Premier League Trophy.

Of all the trophies in the world, most are made of alloys, clay, wood, or plastic; but very few are made with gold or silver. The World Cup, also known as the “Goddess Cup”, is made from 1800-grams of pure gold. Brazil won the honor to keep the cup after they won it for the third time in 1970. At present, the most expensive trophy in the World Football Cup trophy, the FIFA World Cup, which is the production of 5 kg of pure gold. This cup is made in the shape of two hands to holding high the Earth and is worth $2.5 million.

Ander Marketing is a leading supplier of quality acylic and crystal trophy awards, trophy cups, medals, plaques and other corporate gifts. Ander Marketing has been established for over 25 years and is based in Singapore.

13. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Health · Tags:

A recent survey showed that 22 percent of Americans considered health care to be the single most critical issue facing the U.S. today. And for good reason. Since 2000, health-care costs have nearly doubled, rising at five times the rate of salary increases.

The good news is that there are things that families can do to lower those costs.

Sign up for an HMO

If yours is a healthy family that only uses a lot of routine care, you can probably get by with a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan, if such a plan is available at your workplace. If you use doctors within the HMO network, you probably won’t have to pay and deductibles and your co-pays will most likely be lower.

Pay less for medications

One area where you might be able to trim health-care costs is in medications. Many employers are offering financial incentives to encourage the use of less expensive drugs. In fact, nearly nine out of 10 workers are now in some kind of a plan that has a tiered cost-sharing formula for medicines.

The way these work is that there is one co-payment for generic drugs. Then, there is usually higher co-pay for preferred, brand name drugs such as Claritan or Levatol for which there is no generic substitute, and even higher co-pays for non-preferred drugs.

Be sure to always check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if there is a generic substitute before filling a prescription. Generics generally cost 30 to 70 percent less than brand-name drugs with an average co-pay of just $10 vs. $33 for a brand name, non-preferred drug. If there is no generic equivalent to the drug you have been prescribed, ask your insurer or company HR department if there is a substitute drug that would cost less under your health plan.

Take advantage of a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

An FSA allows you to deduct money pretax from your paycheck to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. The good news has gotten even better, too, as the list of expenses you can pay using FSA dollars has been expanded dramatically. In fact, the list now includes most over-the-counter drugs, and new services that make it easier to spend down your account. Yet, despite all the many benefits of FSAs, only about 20 percent of eligible employees current take advantage of them.

While contributions vary by employer, you can often contribute as much as $5,000 per year. Given this, you’ll save as much as 30 percent on your Federal Income Tax. Naturally, this will vary depending on your tax bracket.

You can use FSA dollars to pay insurance deductibles and co-pays, and for such un-reimbursed expenses as acupuncture, contact lenses, flu shots and LASIC surgery. You can find a list of eligible items at irs.gov.

Be sure to ask your HR department about the availability of an FSA. You can only elect to contribute to an FSA for a particular calendar year during an open enrollment benefits time or if you’ve had a life-altering event, such a marriage or the birth of a child.

Fight overcharges

Nobody’s perfect, including doctors and hospital billing departments. Billing overcharges can occur and they cost you literally thousands of dollars.

Consider the case of one patient who received a bill for $15,333 for 49 vials of Pepcid. The correct amount: $317. Typos like this can happen and, as you can see, can be very costly.

Keep a list of all any lab tests, medications, procedures and specialists seen during an illness. Then, do not pay any bills until you see itemized statements. Check these statements against the list you kept to spot common errors such as incorrect dates of service and duplicate or incorrect orders for medication. In the event you find an error, call the hospital’s or doctor’s billing department and your insurance company to get the mistake corrected.

Play Let’s make a deal

While this may sound over the top, it is sometimes possible to negotiate lower prices. Some employees have found they were able to bargain with their pharmacists. Other employees, although fewer in number, have successfully played “let’s make a deal” with doctors, dentists and hospitals. In fact, this can be surprisingly successful, as patients who have negotiated have nabbed a lower fee in about half of all cases.

Naturally, you won’t want to try to negotiate emergency care but you may be able to save money on expensive services such as orthodontia or LASIK surgery.

Where can you negotiate most successfully? Try young doctors who are just starting a practice or doctors with whom you have a long history. Before you start any negotiation, call your insurance company and see what it considers to be a reasonable and customary charge for the procedure. Then try to get your doctor to limit his or her bill to that amount – as the providers’ prices often run 25 to 50 percent higher than what the insurance company would pay If possible, offer to pay part of your bill in cash.

Cutting the cost of your health care is not easy. But if you’re willing to do the work and check out all available options, you just might be able to take a scalpel to them.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Health · Tags:

Living without healthcare insurance is a common problem that is occurring in today’s society. Many adults are unable to afford the high cost of healthcare without the help of insurance and will often go without due to money issues. Children also suffer from this lack of health insurance. It can be even more critical for children to receive medical care than it is for adults. Therefore, the Texas Health Steps program was created to help children in east Texas.

Texas Health Steps was designed to provide medical insurance for all east Texas children under the age of 21. Especially during the early formative years of a child’s life, frequent medical care can be extremely important. Making sure that your child receives their yearly check up will make sure that any developmental issues will be discovered before they come to a critical point. Leaving certain medical conditions untreated can be fatal.

For some people, health insurance is not the only issue that prevents them from taking their child to the doctor for necessary check ups. The rising costs of gas in east Texas can also be an issue. In fact, some people do not even own a car because of the costs of owning and operating a vehicle. Texas Health Steps can also help with this aspect. The program includes the option of a provided ride to attend doctor’s appointments or even money to help you fill your gas tank so that you can get your children the medical care that they require.

Texas Health Steps will help you with every aspect of your child’s care. In addition to doctor’s appointments, this program will also cover any vision care needs that your child may have as well as dental needs. Your east Texas caseworker will be able to help you find doctors that are close to your home and are a good match for your family’s individual needs. They can even help you to make the appointments that you need.

Taking care of today’s children is very important. They are the future of the country and deserve to grow up happy and healthy. If your child is insured with Texas Health Steps, visit an east Texas
health clinic [http://www.countryside-clinic.com] to find a full service nurse practitioner than can help you to make sure that your child receives the medical care that he or she needs and deserves.

01. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Sports · Tags:

You’ve probably heard of competitive eating before and there’s a good chance you might have even tried it yourself as an amateur. I entered a couple of eating contests at local fairs in my day, especially as a young girl but it was nothing more than fun and games.

For some, however, competitive eating is something serious. So much so, in fact, that we now have Major League Eating, an international ranking of the top competitors in this unusual sport. It even inspired the reality TV show, “Man Versus Food.”

This year’s men’s winner of the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest ate 62 franks and buns in 10 minutes and the first-ever women’s winner ate 40 hot dogs. It’s a fascination that is sweeping far more than just our nation as countries all over the globe feature similar eating contests.

The bizarre sport of competitive eating is nothing short of a freak show to some people. Depending on who you ask, it shouldn’t be considered a sport at all. Some call it gluttony, others call it mental disorder- so what is it really?

A government watchdog group in Taiwan calls it a health hazard. “The frequent ‘big-stomach’ contests not only endanger health but violate the principle of fairness as the contestants who get sick are using the national health insurance resources,” said the group, in a statement.

While such contests are not illegal, the group considers them to be against social fairness and justice as well as harmful to health.

Is there any truth to the health hazards of such excessive eating? There is one small study attempting to find out once and for all. The objective was “to assess the stomachs of a world-class speed-eating champion and of a control subject during a speed-eating test in our gastrointestinal fluoroscopy suite to determine how competitive speed eaters are able to eat so much so fast.”

The study showed that a competitive eater seemed to lack the “satiety reflex” to cause them to stop eating and the stomach would inflate to an enormous rate to allow for the excess food.

“There’s no real documentation of the risks and dangers associated with this sport,” says Levine, a doctor in the study.

While some may think anyone who would eat that much food must have a mental disorder, there have also been no tests or studies done to date that clarify anything regarding the mental state of people who choose to participate in such contests. For some, it may be mere curiosity. For others, it’s a way to stake their own little claim to fame.

What about you; have you ever participating in a competitive eating contest? Do you think it’s a real sport or nothing short of crazy?

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