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Wonderful water therapies – Swimming, Part 2

Alright, I just came back from a vacation and will go on to talk about different healing therapies along with my research. Sometimes,  it's not necessarily limited to Healthy Check therapies, just whatever alternative therapies I found interesting. I brought up some inspiring stories of swimming last post. Indeed, swimming has been long known for a great exercise. In the recent 20 years, it has become a physical therapy for many patients instructed by doctors. Over 60 millions of Americans take swimming as a long-term exercise for health "maintenance". In the old days of Chinese community, most people focused on working hard as their "exercise", partly because of the poverty keep them "work" hard in the farms, or as blue collar workers just to survive. Now since the society changed a lot already, people who are especially over 30-40 years old realize their health are getting worse. They need to find a better way for leisure and health purpose, which can keep them healthy even after retire.  Swimming is known as the best work out for the whole body.  So it's getting more popular in Chinese community than before.

A lot of consistent swimmers go for swimming because their health is declining, usually after 40 something, symptoms are like sore back, get tired easily, etc. Retired swimmers also go swim for social purpose as well. Repetitive movements, slow and steady breaths, the freedom and the floating force provided by water, help swimmers to feel relieved and change the mindset. Some people swim for fun immersing in the water, some swim for exercise, some people swim for stress relief. No matter what the reasons are, swimming has some advantage that no other exercise can replace. First of all, water somewhat defy gravity and let our body joints and muscle freely move, so patients with muscle or joints problems, or injured limbs take swimming as their best choice of exercise and even "movement". Furthermore, unlike walking or running, which use mostly a few parts of your body, swimming uses the whole body including arms, legs, back, stomach and all major group of muscles, so it's the most balanced exercises. Swimming doesn't give as much pressure as other exercises to circulation system and joints.

Doctors usually suggest people who has arthritis or body injury to swim, because this is the best method  increasing the amount of exercise with minimum strikes to the body. According to some sports specialist, swimming in correct poses is almost the only exercise that doesn't cause injury to our body, because water almost make our body weightless. There is only 10% of active force of the land, so the pressure to our joints is very small as well. Some handicapped people go swimming like a fish everyday and totally get rid of the limitation of their injured body.

Can swimming lose some weight? Consistent swimming can really tone up our muscle and get rid of fat, but weight is different. Muscle is heavier than fat so swimming may actually gain some weight. Since cold water makes our brain senses hunger after swimming to tell our body to eat a good meal. If we eat more than necessary after swimming, it could be worse. However, if we can control our calorie intake, swimming does burn more fat than running. A specialist indicated that water is 775 times heavier than air, swimmers has to burn 25% more calories than normal runners to resist the water pressure.

The most appealing says of swimming is that swimmers look younger than their real age. Also, the author of The Complete Book of Swimming, P. Whitten also indicates that swimming reduce fat and blood pressure, increase good cholesterol , hence reduce the  chances of heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers.


Hand Acupressure/Reflexology for high blood pressure, part 1

After a whole week of flu, I finally can come back to the monitor and write again. When I was coughing, I tried the hand acupressure I wrote about a while ago as well. And it did relieve my cough a bit, but the treatment took quite long to make it work.

Anyway, as I've been doing lately, I'm going to talk about hand acupoints for high blood pressure in first part, and reflexive area in the second part. High blood pressure means the blood flow in our body doesn't go well because of certain resistance, and cause the heart to pump harder and give higher pressure to keep the blood flowing. The causes of high blood pressure vary. Most of the time is caused by other health problems, but overweight and inappropriate diet can also be catalysts of high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can cause some self aware symptoms like headache, shoulder stiffness, tinnitus, palpitation etc. But the most scary one would be arteriosclerosis caused by high blood pressure. It's because when blood pressure is high, the arteries of the whole body will have to share the extra pressure evenly, some blood vessels get weaker and may cause stroke or myocardial infarction (MI)

Treatment of high blood pressure is usually taking medicine to control the pressure. But we can't ignore the side effects of these medicines. So acupuncture and acupressure on acupoints would probably be a more natural treatment. There are 3 acupoints on the back and the side of the hands. The first one is called "Yang Xi", which locates on the inner side of the wrist under the root of thumb, where the concave area is.  The second one is called "He Gu" on the back of the hand in between the thumb and the index finger,  locates at about the length of the first segment of the thumb counting inward. The third one is called "Luo Ling Wu" on the back of the hand in between the knuckles of index finger and middle finger. Most high blood pressure patient can feel the little pulse at those acupoints, so it's not too difficult to find them. (See diagrams)

Here is the guide to stimulate those acupoints using finger massaging or rubbing, if problem is serious, use a bunch of 10 toothpicks or pointy device to stimulate:

1. Maximum blood pressure > 160mm reading on the meter: stimulate the first one "Yang Xi"

2. Maximum blood pressure > 180mm reading on the meter: stimulate the second one "He Gu"

3. Maximum blood pressure > 200mm reading on the meter: stimulate the third one "Luo Ling Wu"




Introduction of Foot Acupressure – Reflexology


About a month ago I posted about 12+2 meridians or channels carrying Qi and Blood Flow, and the 365 major acupoints (or acupuncture points, or "xue dao" in Mandarin). About two weeks ago I talked about hand acupressure and some techniques for healing some common illness like toothache, diarrhea or motion sickness through massaging the reflexive area or the stimulating certain acupoints. Before I list more different illnesses that can be healed through the hands, I decided to introduce foot acupressure as well, so I have both to talk about later.

The therapy on feet are actually the same on the hands. The healing based on the stimulation of the reflexive areas (or reflecting areas, reflective areas....whatever they're called in English) is called reflexology. Usually stimulations include massage, acupuncture, acupressure, moxabustion etc. The purpose is to adjust the function of internal organs and enhance the flow of Qi and blood through the meridians. Basically I kinda talked about all these in the introduction of hand acupressure.

There are about 20% of major acupoints on our feet and legs. Massaging these areas and stimulating those points not only can cure common illness like headache or toothache, even high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes these serious diseases can be controlled and relieved. Foot or hand acupressure therapy doesn't have any side effects and always safe. Not just the hands, feet work as a forecast for our health as well.

When we're done with exercises, massaging our legs and feet not only help us to avoid the sore, we're actually helping the internal organs and Yin Yang balance as well. Foot acupressure can be done by ourselves without others help, anywhere and anytime we like.

I bought a "carpet with rocks" which is actually made for foot acupressure therapy. Walking on this carpet is painful, but it's also a nice therapy for our health. If you walk on some little stones and you find your feet really painful, that means your health is just so-so. If you feel ok, that means you're quite healthy. I'll try to post the photo of this thing I bought and talk about this later. Also I'll talk about the techniques of massage on foot as well.

(Sources: Diagram from