My aunt always said “getting old ain’t for sissies!”. She had a point. By age 60, the average person has lost 30% of their muscle mass and chronic disease rates swell in middle age (after age 40):
- Diabetes is the fastest growing disease in America
- At the turn of the century, only 1% of the population contracted Type 2 Diabetes
- Currently, 1 in 3 people will contract Type 2 Diabetes
- Cancer rates continue to escalate
- Estimated new cases in 2018 1,735,350
- Cancer is one of the leading causes of death
- Your risk of developing cancer is as high as 40%
- Heart disease – the leading cause of death in America
- 25% of all deaths in the United States are due to heart disease
- In California alone, 41% of students are overweight
- 40% of American adults are considered obese
- Obesity related health conditions include: diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, some cancers and physical inactivity
There are several factors common to chronic diseases, but the one that really stands out is stress.
Stress is fairly complex and includes physical, emotional/mental and environmental factors. Perhaps the biggest contributor to stress today is diet. When I was a child, our farm lands were healthy and our farmed foods were full of nutrition. Not so much anymore. When I was a child, we ate a whole food diet that was not genetically modified. Not so much anymore. Neither is it so easy these days to control your diet, especially if you eat out, even if you eat an organic whole food diet.
So, what’s the answer? There is no easy answer today. Control your weight, control your exposure to chemicals, control your body’s pH balance, control your diet – these will all contribute to your overall health, but won’t necessarily ensure that you won’t develop some sort of chronic disease. Adding in appropriate exercise will further increase your health – but what’s appropriate? That is a subject for another article!
But, the most important thing you can do is control your stress. Add meditation, a Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong practice to your daily routine. These will do more for you than pre-packaged “healthy” juices or smoothies. Or, increase the frequency of your massage sessions.
One of the really nasty side effects of stress is that it accumulates in the body, tightening your muscles, reducing your immunity, raising your blood pressure, reducing your pain tolerance, interfering with your body’s ability to properly process what you eat, and disrupting your sleep. This kind of stress accumulation doesn’t go away on it’s own.
The good news is that massage not only feels good, it’s good for you! Just a few benefits of receiving regular massage range from reducing blood pressure and chronic pain to improved muscle tone and posture, improved skin tone, reduced anxiety, better recovery time, and improved sleep quality. Massage should be a part of every person’s routine health maintenance plan.