Can Tai Chi help individuals recovering from Surgery or Stroke?

    Tai Chi for Rehabilitation 

                                     Tai Chi picture 1

Tai chi is one of the best known martial arts of the internal systems originated from ancient China. Tai Chi consists of exercises equally balanced between yin and yang, which is why it is so remarkably effective.

Yin and yang are polar opposites and are found in all things in life. In nature, everything tends toward a natural state of harmony. Likewise, yin and yang are always in total balance. Things which are perfectly balanced and in harmony are at peace; being at peace leads naturally to longevity.

Tai Chi for Rehabilitation Program designed by Dr. Paul Lam M.D

 involves basic Tai chi, foundations in Tai chi, sun style, yang style, chen style.

Benefits of Tai Chi

  • Tai chi increases muscle strength, which supports and protects joints.
  • Increases Stamina
  • Increases Flexibility
  • Helps Balance, thereby reducing falls
  • Improves Posture/Memory/Relaxation
  • Enhances Muscle Strength, Cardiovascular system
  • Recover from injuries or surgeries faster
  • Easily adaptable for your specific needs.

Although you are not working with weights or resisted bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in tai chi strengthens your upper body,” says internist Dr.Gloria Yeh, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “Tai Chi strengthens both upper and lower extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen.”

Flexibility: Women in 2006 Stanford study significantly boosted upper and lower body flexibility as well as strength.

  Balance: Studies show that Tai Chi improves balance and reduces falls.

Proprioception, which is the ability to sense the position of one’s body in space——- declines with age.

Tai Chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments.

It also improves muscle strength and flexibility, which makes it easier to recover from a stumble.

Fear of falling can make you more likely to fall; some studies have found that Taichi training has helped reduce that fear.

The movements in Tai Chi are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai chi can be easily adapted, from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery or stroke.

                        Tai Chi picture 2

Aruna is trained in Tai Chi. If you have a friend or family member who would benefit from Tai Chi ,  Contact her to attend a class .



Oncology massage – Post Mastectomy

oncology ribbon pictureI sincerely appreciate the hospitals I had a chance to work in and the nurses who gave me an opportunity to work with oncology patients.

The therapists who work with Oncology patients have to have knowledge of pathophysiology of cancer and other contraindications associated with cancer- treatment symptoms.

If you ask me how the oncology massage is different from other forms of massage therapy. It is not about what I do. It is about what I know not to do when I am working with oncology patient, combined with the knowledge I have gained regarding the treatment of cancer that distinguishes me as oncology-massage therapist.

When I am working with an oncology patient, I know that I should not be aggressive at my work and I should be aware of the kind of pressure, touch I am utilizing when providing manual lymphatic massage. Otherwise, my inexact treatment can compromise an immune- suppressed patient, or over- tax their body which will make them feel exhausted the following day.

This work is not for everyone. The patients I worked with have taught me a lot. In other words, although I went to the hospital to provide the service, I learned a lot from the patients whom I have worked with. I am forever grateful for the hospitals, nurses, doctors and of course to the patients.

Benefits of Post Mastectomy massage

During the course of one study conducted by the Touch Research Institute found that women who received 30minute massage sessions, three times per week for a five-week period showed that immediate decrease in depression, anxiety and pain, increased energy, immune system’s natural killer cells and lymphocytes also increased throughout the study.

  • Post Mastectomy massage provides a therapeutic remedy for both patients who have opted for breast reconstruction surgery as well as those who choose not to.
  • When I am working with a patient after mastectomy, I understand that the cancer survivor has a multitude of physiological, emotional and physical scars to cope up with. so, I customize my massage with lymphatic massage based on client’s pain-tolerance levels and medical history.
  • When I understand my client’s needs and customize the massage in a nonjudgmental way, I am not only helping my client get some relief from the pain after highly invasive procedures of Radiation and Chemotherapy, I am helping my client restore the sensation and feeling in the area of amputated breast. It allows my client to reconnect with their body and feel complete after going through surgery and amputation.
  • I feel honored to work with my clients who have undergone mastectomy since I am playing a role in helping them improve their self-image, strengthen their body image and empowering them in their healing process.
  • Massage therapy helps increase circulation to the surgical area, promoting healing from mastectomy and helps minimize scar tissue.
  • Radiation can make the skin look and feel fibrotic, tough and can lead to formation of adhesions. Massage can help the irradiated tissue to become more pliable by bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the area and improve their range of motion by removing the waste products.
  • DEEP TISSUE IS NOT UTILIZED In this scenario.
  • Manual Lymph drainage massage, light myofascial massage to spread the tissue gently, cross-fiber friction on areas of scar to make it more pliable.
  • I listen to my client’s energy and body with my hands, fingers and cater the massage to her pain tolerance and needs.
  • I integrate energy work, reiki in my massage when I am working with my mastectomy patients. This actually cultivates a positive mental attitude in those women, which in turn improves their tolerance when they are going through chemotherapy and or radiation therapy treatments.
  • Lymphatic tissue in the axillary area of the arm is disrupted during breast augmentation. Sometimes lymph nodes are removed depending on the severity of cancer. Lymphatic fluids can become trapped and cause swelling post-surgery. So vigorous massage, excessive friction and deep tissue massage should NOT be used. Those individuals should be treated by manual lymph-drainage massage therapist.
  • Post mastectomy massage helps the woman to accelerate the healing process, and allows the woman to reconnect on an emotional and physical plane.

Gift certificate for massage would benefit women when they are diagnosed with cancer. I sincerely appreciate all those women who trust me and my service.

References: Massage Magazine

Healthy Teeth = Healthy Smile

girl with lunch bag

Flossing teeth – Necessary or Not necessary

Sports, water consumption,mouth guard,Sugary drinks, lipbalm

Manual Lymphatic Massage – who is eligible to receive?

Lymphatic Drainage Massage is a light form of massage modality.  This massage is done with light, rhythmic movements touching the skin with very light touch.


Since this massage involves light touch, clients might perceive it being not useful. But typically after 3 or 4 sessions, client will feel the benefits. Sometimes depending on the client’s situation, they might need more than 4 sessions.

The lymph is a whitish liquid flowing throughout our body inside lymph vessels, collecting wastes and toxins that cannot be absorbed through the blood capillary vessels. Lymph nodes are where the lymph is cleaned. Lymph nodes are located in neck, underarms, groin area. Lymph nodes are the main areas that drain the body toxins and liquids.


Lymphatic Massage is beneficial to individuals who have:

Cellulite: Cellulite appears when the fat deposits in our feet compressing the lymph vessels, turning it difficult for the lymph to flow. When the cellulite is on its initial stages, it is easy to activate the flow of the accumulated wastes and solve the issue efficiently.

Scars:  During the scarring process of a wound if the interstitial liquid accumulates, it creates an edema, a hypertrophic, Keloid or swollen scar. The lymphatic massage has a positive effect on the scars. Manual Lymphatic massages is beneficial on even the older scars because this massage helps reconstructing the tissue.

Pregnant moms: Due to hormonal changes, pregnant ladies tend to retain liquid resulting in decreased tone of veins and lymph vessels. Lymphatic massage helps reduce the swelling experienced by many women on the extremities (hands, legs and feet).

Swollen feet: Lymph flows from the periphery of the limbs to their center. If for any reason this path is interrupted, the lymph falls back due to the action of the gravity flooding the feet tissues causing them to swell. The lymph drainage helps lymph to complete its route and it is the choice treatment. In 3-4 weeks, the individuals usually see the improvement. If it’s chronic, the doctor will point the ideal frequency of the massage.

Surgery: Lymph drainage is effective for getting rid of edemas and hematomas and boosting tissue regeneration and repairing the tissue following a surgery.

Individuals diagnosed with lipedema or lymphedema – Doctor’s intervention combined with Manual Lymphatic massage is beneficial.

Do the Energy Bars, Bottled Water, Sports Drink,  Mouth Guard affect your Oral Health?

Fitness flaws that could affect your oral health

Salt- Beneficial for Health or Not? – – an article from International Sports Science Association

Do You Need Salt for Health and Optimal Performance?

Blog      August 1, 2017      Thomas Munck and Paul Hovan Jr.      Comments?

The Question of Salt

When fitness professionals discuss the topic of salt, certain other words naturally come to mind: hypertension, water retention, stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease are a few.

Today’s diet of fast, processed, pre-packaged food has indeed added to the total amount of salt in the American diet. That’s a problem.

But for individuals who eat fresh meals of mostly whole foods, who train often and hard, is further reducing their salt intake the right thing to do?

Let’s look at how salt impacts your workout and just how much you need to find the right balance.

What Exactly Is Salt?

To help paint a clearer picture, it is important to know exactly what this thing called “salt” is. Salt is a crystallized compound that is abundant in nature. This naturally occurring mineral is composed of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. These are two substances necessary for the proper functioning of the human body.

Salt has long been used to make to bring out the flavor in ingredients and to preserve foods prolonging shelf life. But what happens in the body when we eat salt?

Salt at Work in Your Body

Dry Mouth Fatigue Decreased Performance Cognitive issues, like confusion, hallucinations, or stupor Muscle Cramps Heat related illness Lack of muscle fullness Lack of muscle pumps Low urinary volume Higher rates of sweat

During your training and exercise sessions, you may have experienced some of the following symptoms:

  • dry mouth,
  • fatigue,
  • decreased performance,
  • cognitive issues – confusion,
  • hallucinations,
  • stupor,
  • muscle cramps,
  • heat related illness,
  • lack of muscle fullness,
  • lack of muscle pumps,
  • low urinary volume and
  • higher rates of sweat.

All of these are symptoms of hyponatremia. This condition sets in when the body holds on to too much water. This dilutes the amount of sodium in the blood, which in effect results in sodium levels that are abnormally low.

Low sodium levels can affect the proper functioning of muscles and nerves and can even dangerously lower blood pressure. All of these can cause potentially serious health issues.2

5 Reasons Why You Need the Right Amount of Salt

Click to view full infographic or here to download PDF and print for your clients.

5 Reasons Why You Need the Right Amount of Salt

Consuming adequate salt is important for the complete functioning of your body, but ensuring you have enough salt in your diet will also impact your workouts. Here are five ways that having proper salt intake will benefit your training.

1. Sodium regulates blood volume

Whether you’re working out in the gym or on a sports field, performing at a high intensity requires the body to use both oxygen and carbohydrates as fuel sources. This means that the two will need to circulate they through the bloodstream, both quickly and in large amounts.

Only when sodium levels are balanced, can blood circulate adequate amounts of nutrients quickly.

Sodium enables a higher blood volume response, creating better nutrient and oxygen delivery to muscle cells.1 Research studies have proven this.

A research study conducted at the University of Otago, New Zealand found that Sodium loading aids in fluid balance and reduces the physiological strain of trained men exercising in the heat. Researchers put eight highly trained runners through a VO2 max double blind study where runners ingested a high or low sodium beverage before running to exhaustion at 70% of their max, across a three week span.1

Results showed that those who consumed a high salt beverage before exercise increased their blood plasma volume by 4.5% before exercise, allowing them to exercise for 46 minutes longer than those who did not ingest sodium prior. These trained athletes were able to increase their total exercise capacity even in warm weather conditions.1

2. Salt removes toxins

During training, our muscles get filled with various acids, toxins, and substrates that can cause fatigue, reduced oxygen uptake, and decrease our ability to recover, both during and after exercise.

Adequate levels of sodium run the body’s natural detoxification process. Sodium balances systemic pH and excretes these waste products, resulting in a longer, more sustained performance and increased recovery.

3. Sodium is THE nutrient driver

Whether you’re an athlete or fitness enthusiast, most of us know that our body’s main source of energy stems from our carbohydrate consumption and that water, paired with electrolytes, is needed to hydrate the body.

The body is unable to use these key nutrients properly without a way of getting into the muscle cells and tissues. This is where sodium plays a key role. Sodium’s ability to regulate blood volume increases these nutrient absorption rates, which provides the body with the fuel it needs to continuously perform at a fully hydrated level.

4. Salt balances blood sugar

When salt enters the body, it is absorbed into the circulatory system and activates the movement of water from the cells to the blood by osmotic pressure. Osmotic pressure is the force that pushes water out of the cells where it can then be circulated throughout the body.

This helps to improve blood volume, a number of red blood cells and plasma found within our circulatory system. When sodium pushes osmotic pressure, it drives the kidneys to flush out excess sugar in the blood.

Through the stabilization of blood sugar levels, you get a whole host of benefits: a better night’s rest promoting improvements in recovery, overall higher energy levels, better cognitive functioning, higher fat oxidation levels, and higher metabolic functioning.5

5. Salt improves hydration

Adding salt to a drink stimulates carbohydrate absorption, which enhances water uptake. Every gram of carbohydrates consumed comes with 2.7 grams of water. So, when salt drives carbohydrates into the muscle tissue, it brings water along. The water pulled into muscle cells acts as a lubricant, which helps them function better.

In addition to pulling water into the muscle cells, sodium also aids in keeping fluid balance within cells, along with potassium and magnesium. These nutrients help to transmit nerve impulses throughout the body, allowing muscles to contract and relax.

Sodium ingestion during or following endurance exercise stimulates thirst, which makes you turn to your water bottle more often. More consumption of water prompts recovery in two ways: rehydrating the body and increasing urine output, which in turn flushes the body of toxins that have accumulated during the workout.

A recent study examined the effectiveness of sodium-containing sports drinks in preventing hyponatremia and muscle cramps during prolonged exercise in the heat.6 The results concluded that sodium intake during prolonged exercise in the heat does play a significant role in preventing sodium losses that may lead to hyponatremia when fluid intake matches sweat losses.

How to Safely Get the Benefits of Salt

High Potassium Food: Potatoes – 925.55 (all measurements in mg per one cup serving) Bananas – 422.44 Dark leafy greens – 1308.96 Spinach – 838.80 Tomatoes – 426.60 Oranges – 237.11

If you’re looking to take control of your salt consumption, here are a few quick tips to help control sodium and make sure you are consuming enough to optimize your training:

  • Cut down on processed food. Junk food contains a lot of salt typically, but also other things that you don’t need in your diet.  Many processed food contains salt because, without it, it can be completely inedible and tasteless.  For example, a can of refried bean has 1,989 mg of sodium.  Therefore it is critically important to tally up the total sodium your client is consuming in a day.  While the FDA does not regulate sodium levels in U.S. Food Supply, they recommend that individuals consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day and that certain groups limit intake to 1,500 mg per day.7
  • Increase the amount of potassium in your diet. Sodium and potassium work together to help regulate blood pressure, but the problem for most people is consuming too much sodium and not enough potassium. A recent study found that consuming twice the amount of potassium in relation to sodium can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease by 50%.3 Here are some high-potassium foods5:
    • potatoes
    • bananas
    • dark leafy greens
    • spinach
    • tomatoes
    • oranges
  • Stay hydrated. Always replenish your water and sodium intake before, during, and after exercise.
  • Use Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt instead of table salt. Refined, white table salt that most people use has been processed to remove all minerals but sodium chloride. Less processed salts have important trace minerals and provide better overall nutrition.


About Thomas Munck and Paul Hovan Jr.

Thomas Munck is a certified Physical Education and School Health teacher in Connecticut. He holds both his M.S in School Healthy, and a B.S. in Exercise Science from Southern Connecticut State University Early on in life, he was heavy and lacked motivation physically, mentally, and emotionally. This made for some rough years growing up, until he learned about the benefits of daily physical fitness and proper nutrition from his physical educator. From that moment on, the fire inside of him was ignited. This led him to his current profession, impacting the youth who will eventually change our world! In addition to teaching, Thomas has his own personal online nutritional guidance counseling service, where he strives to educate individuals on how to lead a healthy balanced lifestyle through proper nutrition, and physical fitness.

Paul Hovan Jr., BS, CPT, is an ISSA Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and the Founder and President of Hov Hustle Fitness. Paul has written extensively on sports nutrition, exercise science, sport performance, metabolism, and meal planning. Paul has trained hundreds of clients from South Korea, UK, Canada, and all around the U.S. He is currently working on a degree in Nursing to help individuals who need the highest level of care.

Is Deep Tissue Massage a good fit for you?

  •                     deep-tissue massage picture

    1. Are you a good candidate for Deep tissue massage?

  1. Is Deep tissue massage good for everyone and anyone?

The answer to 1. May be           2. NO

The reason is:

Not all of our body are built the same way.  Every individual’s needs are different, based on if the individual who is seeking a therapist for massage has undergone surgery or has chronic pain  in neck , feet, back, low back, headaches or has been diagnosed with  plantar fascitis or Fibromyalgia Or Just want to relax because that person had a stressful day.

If a client approaches me for my service, my INTAKE PROCESS include asking questions about their health history, surgeries they have had, injuries they had few years ago , few months ago, few days ago….

Then based on that,

  • If the client has had surgery where lymph nodes were removed and they are seeking my service to reduce the swelling in extremities (arms and legs), remove the toxins from the body, then I would NOT suggest Deep tissue massage for that individual. Lymphatic Drainage Massage would be ideal for that client. Lymphatic Massage is recommended by the surgeons for individuals who have undergone Liposuction surgery.


  •  If the individual has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, then deep tissue is NOT what i would recommend to that person.


  •  If an individual’s doctor referred the patient to me for TMJ massage, since that person is experiencing pain around the jaw or have restricted range of motion around the joint, Again, I would NOT recommend Deep tissue massage for that individual. Doctor’s recommend and refer their patient to me for Myofascial Release massage in that situation.


  • If an individual is recovering after a knee or hip replacement surgery, Then Doctors usually want their patient to go through Rehab exercises with Physical Therapist (PT).  Now a Massage therapist can help that individual as well after PT or Before PT appointment.  Deep Tissue Massage might NOT be a good idea in this situation as well. Precision Neuromuscular Therapy and or Spinal Reflex Therapy is what i would utilize depending on the Individual’s situation.


  •  When a pregnant lady is seeking massage therapist, based on the woman’s health history and talking to the client, there might be certain areas in the body where deep tissue massage can be implemented. For the most part, I would recommend Prenatal Pregnancy massage.


  •  If an individual wants to relax after a stressful day, then that person might be a good candidate for a Deep tissue massage. Please feel free to inform your massage therapist if the pressure the therapist applies is comfortable or not.

A good communication is pertinent for a client to benefit and for the therapist to be successful as well.

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Is Warm Up Essential before workouts?

                                            warm up picture


Rebecca Heck here from Impact Fitness. Let’s discuss why the warm up before workouts are essential.

First let me say I see a lot of people skimping on pre-workout warm ups. 

They just want to get to the heart of their sweat feast. I get it , however the body requires these warm ups to really be prepared for the lifting and training you’re about to do. 

Why????? Well you literally need to warm your body up and get your heart rate up to be in a proper state before that workout and to help avoid injury and put the body in a proper state before that heart pumping session. 

Your warm up is just as important as the sweat feast that follows. So here’s a good example. Let’s break this down…..

  1. choose a cardio activity- treadmill,bike,elliptical,stair-master, jump-rope, walk/jog/run,dance .Anything to get your cardio on and get moving for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Start out slow and check your starting/resting hear rate . It should be between 60-100 beats per minute (BPM)Well trained athletes can be between 40-60BPM.
  3. Hit your fat burning range of 60%-70% . You’ll find that range by first finding your max heart rate (HR)by subtracting your age from 220 then do the math for your 60%-70% *Example for a 45 year old *220-45=175 max HR 175x.6=105(60%) 175x.7=122.5(70%) do your math with your age ,find your range!
  4. Within the first few minutes keep the speed 2.5-3.5 
  5. Check your HR .Then when ready around minutes 3-5 increase the speed 3.0-4.0
  6. Check HR and increase speed if needed. 
  7. This will insure your body is ready to hit the workout your about to do. 
  8. If you’re looking for a challenging workout that brings results contact me with your personal goals and I will construct workouts around the fitness level you want . As a certified personal trainer- certified IIN Heath coach and award winning Fitness Universe competitor I can help you get the results your looking for!
  9. Now what to do in order to keep those muscles from tightening up between workouts.

For that I advise stretching and massage therapy from a professional medical massage therapist. Aruna is an amazing medical massage therapist ( She will keep you feeling great and recovered before, after and between workouts so you’ll be ready to hit those workouts with all you’ve got every time . 

Set goals and surpass them with workouts by Rebecca + 

Rebecca’s healthy fitness 


Certified Personal Trainer 

Rebecca Heck pictures

Certified IIN Health Coach

Award Winning Fitness Universe Competitor

The Case of The Failing Knee by Dr. Frank Jarrell

Health, Fitness, Success- INTERDEPENDENT ?

The above three are interdependent
Why and how ? You may think…..

Healthy eating
If we care about our well being, we need to eat healthy nutritious whole foods that include veggies, fruits with antioxidants, nuts, lean meat  rather than opting to fast foods or eating out all the time. Eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of disease.
So if we eat healthy , that is a start. But is it sufficient for living a Productive, Fulfilling life?

How does being fit matter ?

If fitness of some form,……. it can be taking a brisk walk, jogging, working out with jump rope, strength training, Pilates, yoga ……
Statistics show that Exercise boosts metabolism and helps burn calories. work out

Strength training helps build and tone muscles by activating muscles all over your body and improves average metabolic rate. DON’T FORGET TO HYDRATE. DRINKING WATER HELPS YOUR BODY TO PROCESS CALORIES.
Check with your physician before you start a new regimen in exercise.

So now you may ask , how success fits in this triangle and how it is relevant and dependent on the other two.

successful business woman
If we are eating healthy food and mindful about portions of food we consume along with reasonable exercise to boost our metabolism, it will naturally nourish our spirit so we aren’t depressed . These mindful actions will boost our morale

TO FOCUS MORE and be CREATIVE & PRODUCTIVE at our workplace.
On the other hand if we make it a habit to eat fast food all the time that is loaded with extra sodium, and not consume enough protein , veggies, fruits and ignore our health by not exercising , we will get lethargic and depressed leading to not being productive at work.
Our health is the largest wealth we have . let us take care of it by using the resources we have.