wellness

What Is Thai Massage?

Have you ever experienced a disappointing massage?  Sounds oxymoronic, but it's entirely possible to feel robbed on the massage table - that is, if you sought the wrong technique for the wrong symptoms.  

It's easy to assume that all massages are the same. Don't be fooled: there are key differences in technique that affects different parts of the body. 

It's worth noting that if you are unsatisfied with the result, it could be because of the practitioner; not necessarily the technique. Shop around to try the work of different professionals before giving up on the technique altogether. 

Swedish and Thai massage are the most common massage therapies and are often confused for being the same thing.

In actuality, they couldn't be further apart!

Thai massage stimulates acupressure points along the body's Meridien lines in order to provide relief, stretch and loosen tightened muscles, release tension and relieve joints.

Thai massage is jokingly described as 'lazy yoga', as it stretches the body using as many postural changes as possible.

Thai is effective at mobilising joints and stretching out different muscle groups so you feel relaxed afterwards. It's a wonderful modality to relax and provide stress relief. 

What Is Lomi Lomi Hawaiian Massage?

Have you ever experienced a disappointing massage?  Sounds oxymoronic, but it's entirely possible to feel robbed on the massage table - that is, if you sought the wrong technique for the wrong symptoms.  

It's easy to assume that all massages are the same. Don't be fooled: there are key differences in technique that affects different parts of the body. 

It's worth noting that if you are unsatisfied with the result, it could be because of the practitioner; not necessarily the technique. Shop around to try the work of different professionals before giving up on the technique altogether. 

Lomi Lomi (or Kahuna) massage is a relaxing hands-on massage with coconut oil.

The ideologies of Lomi Lomi are deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture, beliefs and spirituality. For centuries, Lomi Lomi was performed in Hawaiian temples as a rite of passage for young people coming into adulthood.

The ancient Hawaiian shamans believed in a strong mind-body connection; that muscle tension and mental stress were highly related. 

The Lomi Lomi technique involves long, fluid, rhythmic movements across the whole body, which provide overall body relaxation and mental stillness.

I recommend Lomi Lomi massage if you live a busy lifestyle and are looking for relaxation and/or stress relief. 

What Is Remedial Massage?

Have you ever experienced a disappointing massage?  Sounds oxymoronic, but it's entirely possible to feel robbed on the massage table - that is, if you sought the wrong technique for the wrong symptoms.  

It's easy to assume that all massages are the same. Don't be fooled: there are key differences in technique that affects different parts of the body. 

It's worth noting that if you are unsatisfied with the result, it could be because of the practitioner; not necessarily the technique. Shop around to try the work of different professionals before giving up on the technique altogether. 

Remedial massage is used to stretch and warm up muscles in consultation with a trained remedial therapist.

If you have particular muscle tension, experience chronic pain or are dealing with a past injury, a remedial massage might be right for you.

Your remedial massage therapist will assess where you need treatment and what may be causing your pain. They’ll perform some tests to see exactly which muscles are giving you trouble and will tailor a treatment plan to suit. The treatment itself may involve deep tissue work for short periods of time.

Remedial massage is great before, during and after exercise. A word of caution - do NOT use remedial massage immediately after an injury, as you might inflame the site more. Talk to your GP first.

What Is Swedish Massage?

Have you ever experienced a disappointing massage?  Sounds oxymoronic, but it's entirely possible to feel robbed on the massage table - that is, if you sought the wrong technique for the wrong symptoms.  

It's easy to assume that all massages are the same. Don't be fooled: there are key differences in technique that affects different parts of the body. 

It's worth noting that if you are unsatisfied with the result, it could be because of the practitioner; not necessarily the technique. Shop around to try the work of different professionals before giving up on the technique altogether. 

Swedish massage is one of the most popular styles of therapeutic massage in the West.

Based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology - as opposed to energy on "meridiens" or sen lines in Asian massage systems - Swedish massage uses a series of long strokes, muscle kneading and rhythmic tapping to relax muscles. 
 
Swedish massage is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy stress relief. It is also the best technique to try if you haven't experienced massage before.

However, if you're looking to treat sports or other physical ailments, it may prove too gentle. Remedial Massage may be more suitable.

Travel Hacks: How To Avoid Jetlag

If you’re one of the few people who don’t get jet lagged after a long-haul flight, you’re in the minority.

Even the most experienced travellers fall prey to the disorientating clutches of jet lag. Read on to discover how you can make like Cher and literally turn back time.

What Is Jet lag?

Not a disease or condition per se, jet lag is actually a mismatch between our internal and external clocks. Our internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, is a biological cycle that takes place over a time span of approximately 24 hours. Once we travel across time zones, this rhythm goes out of whack – and we spend the next weeks (possibly months) settling back into our bodies’ natural biorhythms.

Why Does Jet lag Happen?

The more time zones you cross, the more likely you are to experience jet lag. Contrary to popular perception, the duration of the flight time has nothing to do with jet lag! 

Read on to discover what you can do to #beatthelag.

Tip #1 - Work out the time zone of your destination

The fantastic Time Scroller app is a handy tool to have in your pocket to compare different time zones around the world. Aim to get in the rhythm of the new time zone during your flight by eating and sleeping at the appropriate times on the ‘other side’.

Tip # 2 – Be Mindful of how many time zones you will cross

It takes one full day to adjust to every hour of time zone shift. For example, if you are travelling from Sydney to London, you will traverse 10 time meridians, which is equivalent of approximately 10 days of jetlag. Ouch! Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a fortnight or longer to fully recover from jetlag. Use tip #1 to get into the timezone of where you currently are.

Tip # 3 – Set Your Watch

It sounds simple enough, but setting your watch to the local time of your destination is a practical step in helping you achieve Tip #1. A quick glance at your watch is far less disturbing to your sleep than groggily rustling through your pocket, or the seat pocket in front, to check the time on your phone.

Tip # 4 – Exercise In Your Destination Timezone

Working out in the mornings of your destination timezone means that you’ll get the blood flowing and stay awake, especially when your body tells you SLEEP DAMMIT SLEEP! The plus side? You’ll get an energy burst that tails off into a nice feeling of fatigue by the evening, further settling you into your new time zone.

Travel Hacks: How To Go To Sleep & Wake Up Using Natural Stimulants & Depressants

Getting much-needed sleep on the plane ranks high on the regular traveler’s wishlist.

Between the hum of the engines, creak of the trolleys, frequent audio announcements and crying babies (there’s always at least one), sleep becomes a precious commodity in the air – eclipsed only by oxygen and water at 40,000 miles above the earth.

The use of stimulants and depressants can help your body prepare for sleep – or alternatively, wake up in time for landing. Stimulants generally speed up the body's processes while depressants slow them down. Read on to discover how you can best make use of stimulants and depressants to catch the z’s your body desperately needs – and which ones to avoid.

Naughty Stimulant  - Caffeine

It’s all-too easy to take that warm cup o’ Joe the flight crew will inevitably offer, but keep in mind that drinking coffee will easily dehydrate your system. Temptation is strong to have a mid-air coffee, especially during domestic or short-haul flights, but your best bet is to drink herbal tea for that tummy-warming sensation.

Nice Stimulant – Half and Apple

Believe it or not, eating half an apple is actually more effective in keeping you awake than a cup of coffee. Some airlines regularly carry fruit on board, so check with your flight crew when embarking on the plane. Eating half an apple means you’ll also get the double whammy of absorbing important antioxidants, flavanoids and dietary fibre that coffee just can’t offer.

Naughty Depressant – Alcohol

Many of us have fallen into the trap of thinking a few G&T’s or complimentary wines will help aid the sleeping process. Sorry guys, alcohol is a depressant AND a big time dehydrator that will only bite you when you reach your destination – or worse – in the toilet cubicle when the seatbelt signs are switched on. It’s not worth the risk going that one-drink too far in a pressurised cabin environment where the risk of missing your connecting flight is, er, sky high.

Nice Depressant - Melatonin

Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound that helps the body know when it is time to sleep and wake up. The level of melatonin in our bodies declines as we age, which explains why older people often sleep less. Available in capsule form from the vitamin section of your local chemist or drugstore, take a Melatonin supplement at the bedtime timezone of your target destination to help acclimatise your body clock and sleeping rhythms more easily.

Travel Hacks: How To Best Prepare For A Flight

Whether you’re a frequent business traveler or like to treat yo’ self to a yearly overseas holiday, plane travel can take a hefty toll on our physical and mental health.

The best way to prevent both the terrors of jetlag and getting sick upon arriving at your destination (the worst!) is to prepare.

Learn to maximize and optimize your travel experiences with a few simple tips that will ensure you arrive at your destination flying #milehigh in perfect health.

Tip # 1 - Drink Fresh Juice...Lots Of It

This is one of the few times I recommend drinking more than one juice per day for a few important reasons. Drinking a raw juice on the morning of your flight, as well as at the airport, will boost your vitamin levels to sky-high levels. Whatever your choice of fruit, make sure you add ginger for it’s anti-microbial properties and kale for it’s high levels of vitamin C sans sugar. Once the plane has taken off and the drinks cart does the rounds, avoid apple and orange juice, as all that processed sugar won’t do you any favours. Instead, switch to tomato juice for its rich vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content.

Tip # 2 - Kefir It Up

Kefir is a fermented drinkable yoghurt made from either cow, goat or coconut milk that is chockablock full of live probiotic cultures. Adding kefir to your breakfast is not only a great way to get more good bacteria into your gut, but certain probiotic cultures found exclusively in kefir have been shown to protect against infections and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, including E. coli. Get your daily kefir fix before the flight and fly high into maintaining optimum digestive health well into reaching your destination.

Tip # 3 - Vitamin Infusion

Go see your GP a week before take off and get an IV vitamin infusion - read more about vitamin infusions on my previous blog post here. Having a vitamin infusion a week before travel will ensure your vitamin levels are at their peak and your immune system is turbocharged in advance. You’ll also be less likely to catch any sniffles or sneezes circulating on the plane. Talk  to your GP about the right vitamin infusion for you. 

Tip # 4 - Drink More Water

Planes have an incredible way of making you feel like the living embodiment of the sahara desert. We all know we ought to be drinking 3 litres a day of water, but sometimes a busy schedule can get in the way. I can’t stress the importance of hydration before, during and after a flight – your body will thank you at your destination. Make sure you drink regularly anytime between  2 weeks to 2 hours before the flight. Bring an empty bottle with you through security and have it handy during the flight for refills. As the great Zoolander said, “Moisture is the essence of wetness and wetness is the essence of beauty!”. 
 

Top 5 Heatwave Hacks

It’s hot in Australia at the moment. Really hot. Super dooper can’t-concentrate-on-anything-other-than-plunging-into-cold-water hot.

Heatstroke kills more Australians than natural disasters, with up to 80% of cases ending in fatalities. With temperatures set to soar above the 40 degree mark across the island continent over the coming week, there’s never been a more important time to be sun-sensible and look out for the wellbeing of those around you.

Read on to discover my top heatwave hacks to #beattheheat in rockstar style.

 

Tip # 1 – Look After People Around You

During extreme conditions, look after the people around you, especially children, the elderly and animals, who are most at risk of heat exhaustion. If you live next door to a family with small children or elderly people, tap on your neighbours’ door and make sure they’re OK - daily, if possible. It could make all the difference in the long run. 

Tip # 2 – Stay Hydrated

Avoid alcohol or caffeine during a heatwave as they are diuretics that will ensure you lose more water and salt from your body than you should. Drink plenty of water, but make sure to include an electrolyte supplement such as Hydralyte, or pick up a pre-packaged electrolyte drink like Powerade, to optimize your body’s sugar and salt levels. Make sure you eat plenty of fruit on the side – oranges and watermelon are filled to the brim with water and natural sugars, as well as being pretty darn delicious.

Tip # 3 – Avoid Prolonged Sun Exposure

It may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people flock to the beach and swimming pools during the day, only to get heatstroke. Stay out of the sun – I repeat – STAY OUT OF THE SUN. Go swimming in the early mornings and evenings and always make sure to bring more water and electrolytes than you think you will need. The UV count is significantly lower at these times compared with the middle of the day, so you’ll also reduce the risk of sun damage.

Tip # 4 – Get Thee To Air Con Paradise

If you don’t have air conditioning – or if you have a busted unit from the 70s that’s on its last legs – get to your local shopping centre, library or cinema and enjoy the benefits of their state-of-the-art systems. Treat yourself to a movie and buy a spray mister from the $2 shop on the way out. Grab a couple for any children or elderly people in your neighborhood who might not be able to make it to the shops.

Tip # 5 – Eat Healthy and Don’t Have Heavy Meals

Ditch the heavy meals and switch to eating cold, lighter dishes. Larger meals will kickstart your metabolism and increase your body heat. Summer is a great time for fresh produce, so switch that heavy carb dish for a protein-rich salad.

Tip # 5 - Limit or Avoid Exercise

Exercising during extreme heat puts you at a larger risk of heat exhaustion. If you can’t bear the idea of missing your daily gym session, choose more low-impact exercises like hatha yoga or pilates that won’t require you to sweat and lose vital water and salts.

Some Thoughts On Tantric Sex...

Tantric Sex. Intrigued anyone? Well I was.

What could it possibly mean to signup to a group-style tantric sex class? Would we be clothed? Did we BYO partner or attractive friend? Was it a situation where you put your keys in a bowl? This was something I wanted to try…well, had thought about trying and didn’t know if I’d actually turn up to a class. 

So I mustered up the courage to learn more and went to visit my good friend Isiah McKimmie, a sex and relationship therapist and specialist tantric teacher. Isiah holds a Masters Degree in Psychotherapy and is a Certified Somatic Sex Therapist having studied at the prestigious Institute for the Advanced Studies of Human Sexuality in the US. And she's a big-time legend. 

Isiah sees extreme importance in the need to practice sex.  She says that “one of the great things about tantra is that it offers fun, practical exercises and open discussion around sexuality, enjoyment, intimacy, pleasure and genuine connections that enable you to become a better lover, partner and friend”. 

The foundation belief of tantric sex is that intimacy and relationships are deeply connected to our overall happiness, intimacy being the key word. Sounds intriguing? Contact Isiah if you're keen to learn more.

So next time you see a notice-board advertising your local tantra class or different ways to increase communication in your relationship, take the slip and make the call. It could easily become a most welcome addition to your love life.

How To Increase Your Libido

As a doctor, I am amazed at how many people I talk to during the consultation process who don’t have sex, don’t think they have enough sex and/or have never spoken about sex in an objective manner.

Although sex is a frequently discussed topic, it's mostly chatted about over a glass of wine with friends. Different people have different interpretations of how it's done, but one thing's for sure: sex is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. 

Losing one's libido can happen easily, regardless of whether you are in a relationship or single, heteroexual or homosexual, young or older or man or woman. We’re all obsessed with doing the latest fad diets to get fit for summer, but one of the most fun ways to help get fit and healthy is something we can all agree on is fun - and that’s great sex! 

Read on for some libido-raising tips to inspire you to get on the good foot and do the bad thing!

  • Did you know having sex burns upwards of 144 calories per 30 minutes? And if that's not more fun than a trip to the gym, I don't know what is!
  • Sex improves your sleep, after orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.
  • Having sex will inevitably lead to having more sex. Researchers found that having sex increases your want for more sex. Having regular sex also increases natural lubrication, blood flow and elasticity – all of which makes for even more enjoyable sex.
  • Regular ejaculation can also reduce the risk of prostate cancer developing in males let's get that sex drive going!
  • Some peptides and other pharmaceuticals can get things racin,  such as Bremelanotide PT-141, which was originally developed from the peptide hormone melanotan used as a tanning agent.  When people used melanotan it was found that they experienced increased sexual arousal and 9 out of 10 test subjects had spontaneous erections.  There are several other substances on the market that can help to kick-start sex, which in turn leads to wanting more of it - ask your doctor for information.
  • Some natural libido boosters  include oysters, figs, bananas and avocados which can all increase blood flow to the genitals. These libido boosters are also just generally healthy, full of good fats and proteins.

5 (More) Reasons To Have More Sex

Just in case you needed more convincing...

TIP #6: GORGEOUS GLOWING SKIN

Sex is an amazing way to improve your skin and it does this through increasing your circulation along with the release of wonderful cytokines that make your skin glow. As we’ve also mentioned, sex can help to relax your body and also your face, which means you’ll need less injectables less often.  

TIP #7: IT'S A KNOCK OUT!

Woo! Snore.....Ever wondered why you pass out post orgasm? Well sex increases levels of the hormone prolactin and then is released into the body when you climax. Prolactin is responsible for a range of feelings including relaxation and sleepiness. So go ahead - knock yourself out.

TIP #8: REDUCE THE RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER

Whilst there haven’t been any conclusive studies to show that there is a direct correlation between orgasm and reduced prostate size, there have been some studies showing that men who ejaculate at least 21 times a month were less likely to get prostate enlargement. 

TIP #9: MIGHTY MORPHINE POWER

Just like many analgesics, sex and orgasms can block pain pathways helping those suffering from a range of conditions to have decreased pain. Along with this it has been found that many forms of genital stimulation can suppress chronic back and neck pain, arthritic pain, headaches and much more. 

TIP #10: THE WAY TO YOUR HEART

To finish of our top 10 for benefits of regular sex we can say that sex reduces pain, makes us happier, healthier and sexier it can also keep us alive longer. The exercise, reduction in blood pressure, relaxation and release of amazing hormones like oestrogen and testosterone have all been shown to keep us ticking on even longer in a healthy manner. For men who have sex twice a week (the minimum for all of us now having read this) it has been shown are half as likely to die of heart disease than those who had sex rarely.

However you do it, however you like it, and with whomever you do it, remember #justdoit.

5 Reasons To Have More Sex

Want a health hit like no other? It's as easy as getting naked...

TIP #1: REDUCES STRESS

Research shows us that having sex reduces your stress levels and that the intimacy with your partner can help to reduce anxiety by increasing a chemical that revs up your reward and pleasure pathways in your brain. Let’s not forget the benefits that improved self-esteem and happiness can bring!

TIP #2: IMPROVES YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

Sex boosts our antibodies. We are exposed to viruses all the time and the levels of antibodies in our system help us to defend against becoming sick. Researchers have found that people who have sex 2 times a week were less likely to get sick, had higher immune levels and took less sick days than their frigid co-workers. Along with this, increasing or decreasing your levels of sex during the week correlated directly to the same increase or decrease in your immunity.

TIP #3: LOWERS YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

Yes if you can believe it, sex actually lowers our blood pressure. The racing of your heart with flirting and teasing does a back-flip during sex with studies showing that regular sex reduces heart rate. Want a health hit like no other? It's as easy as getting naked... 

TIP #4: SEX-ERCISE

It should come as no great surprise that sex can be a great cardio workout, or I guess some weightlifting could also be the case for some. Studies into sex and its benefits have shown that you can burn more than 5 calories a minute, making sex one of the best exercise routines. Getting creative can burn even more calories and workout other unused areas, so be sure to add this into your regular exercise regime and keep it consistent.

TIP #5: KEEPING IT REGULAR

One of the best things about sex is that it facilitates us to have more sex. Sex actively boosts our libido and researchers (those lucky buggers) have found that it promotes happy hormones and neurotransmitters to give us a stronger desire to do it again. Along with this it helps to improve blood flow, natural lubrication and gives us that wonderful glow.