LA Times Articles & Other Good Articles About Healthy Living, Massage, Fitness and Diet

Another reason to drink coffee: A study finds a correlation between increased coffee consumption and a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Coffee beans

Another reason to drink coffee: A study finds a correlation between increased coffee consumption and a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
By Deborah Netburn, LA Times
April 24, 2014, 3:04 p.m.

Drinking more coffee may decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, a new study shows.

Researchers from Harvard University found that people who increased their coffee consumption by at least one cup per day over a period of years were 11% less likely to get Type 2 diabetes compared with people whose coffee-drinking habits didn’t change.

On the flip side, people who dialed back their coffee habit by at least one cup a day were 17% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

COFFEE: Daily habit may lower your risk of liver cancer

The study was published Thursday in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Assn. for the Study of Diabetes. Previous studies have found a correlation between coffee consumption and a lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes, but this was the first study to look at how changes in coffee consumption affect that risk.

“Coffee is pretty fascinating,” said Shilpa Bhupathiraju, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and the lead author of the paper. “It seems to be associated with a lower risk for many chronic diseases.”

The findings in this study are based on a statistical analysis of three long-term and large-scale studies that tracked the diet, lifestyle, and medical conditions of more than 120,000 medical professionals over the course of 20 years.

Previous work has shown that chemical compounds in coffee, not the caffeine, are likely responsible for the association between coffee drinking and lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.

“We know that phenolic compounds in coffee improve glucose metabolism in animal models,” Bhupathiraju said. “Coffee is also a really good source of magnesium, which has been associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.”

If that is the case, drinking more uncaffeinated coffee should be just as effective as drinking more caffeinated coffee in lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes. In this study, the researchers found that changes in decaffeinated coffee consumption had no statistical effect on risk. That may be because not enough participants made a major change in their decaf coffee drinking, the authors note.

But before you run out to refill your Starbucks card, keep in mind that increasing the amount of coffee you drink is just one part of keeping Type 2 diabetes at bay.

“You can’t get at causality with these studies,” Bhupathiraju said. “You need a healthy body weight, a good diet, and a healthy lifestyle. Coffee consumption in the context of all this is associated with a lower risk.”

However, she said that as long as coffee doesn’t make you jittery or keep you from sleeping, there’s no reason you shouldn’t drink up.


LA TIMES Article 02-07-2015. Is Heavy jogging helpful? Not so fast, study says by Monte Morin

Here’s the link:

LA TIMES Article 02-12-2015 by Sean Silbert. Ultra- Deep Tissue Massage- What is Daoliao? Knife massage in Taiwan benefits a client with special kneads

Here’s the link:


Knife massage clinic

LA Times Article: Research says prolonged sitting puts you at risk even if you exercise regularly

Here’s the link: Have been telling my clients this for years.


  Yellowfin Tuna

Here’s the LA Times link:

Is organic food worth the higher price? Many experts say no

USDA creates new government certification for GMO-free

A look at why stress may be good for you

Sugar nation: Half of Americans drink soda daily – and poor people get 9 percent of their daily calories from it

Don’t dismiss the link between smoking and suicide, researchers warn

Don’t dismiss the link between smoking and suicide, researchers warn

Great Read

Yage tourism: Vomiting and visions in Colombia, then peace

Slouching – Bad posture can lead to back pain, shoulder and knee injuries, and more. The spine gives structure to your life: Keep it fit with good posture.
What causes slouching?
Slouching, slumping, and other types of poor posture can cause muscle tension, as well as back pain, joint pain, and reduced circulation. Poor posture can even lead to breathing issues and fatigue.

Stop slouching! Bad posture can lead to back pain, shoulder and knee injuries, and more.

The spine gives structure to your life: Keep it fit with good posture
Keri Pegram shows good posture

UCLA physical therapist Keri Pegram left, shows what good and bad posture looks like to her patient, Nathan Moore, 22, at UCLA Rehabilitation in Santa Monica. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
By Constance Sommer

Mayo Clinic

Stop slouching! Bad posture can lead to back pain, shoulder and knee injuries, and more
Tips to good posture: Much of this can be checked while you’re sitting there in your chair

Christiane Carman believed she had good posture. Then one day she woke up with a crick in her neck, a nagging little pain on the left side that didn’t go away. Soon it was shooting down her left arm. By the time she landed at UCLA’s Spine Clinic, the pain had become her everyday companion. Your problem, a physical therapist at the clinic, Keri Pegram, told her, is the way you sit at work. In other words, Carman had poor posture.

Posture can seem the sort of problem that is easily corrected. But when poor posture becomes a habit, experts say, it can lead to a host of problems, including back pain, ancillary injuries in the shoulders and knees, and struggles with balance and endurance.
Teens’ compulsive texting can cause neck injury, experts warn
Teens’ compulsive texting can cause neck injury, experts warn

“The more the muscles have to work,” said Alan Hilibrand, an orthopedic spine surgeon and professor at Philadelphia’s Jefferson Medical College, “the more they get stressed and fatigued.”

Joint issues and back pain are the second and third most common chronic issues for which we see the doctor (after skin conditions like acne), according to a 2013 Mayo Clinic study. All told, Americans spend about $50 billion each year on lower back pain issues, reports the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“It’s rare that a person does not have back pain in their lives in modern times,” said Esther Gokhale, a posture expert, and teacher in Silicon Valley.
Women find boost inability and other benefits in strength training

Mind & Body
Women find a boost in ability and other benefits in strength training


Often, poor posture is at the root of the problem.

“When someone has pain that’s going all over the place — you know, when they say, ‘I have knee pain and shoulder pain,’ I’ll say, ‘No, you’ve got to fix your posture,'” Pegram said. “It always comes back to the core.”

But many of us don’t even know where to begin. Told to stand up straighter, we throw our shoulders back and our chest forward. But that’s not good posture; that’s just reversing the problem.

“Good posture is balanced posture,” said Wendy Katzman, an associate professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation science at UC San Francisco. “The head is over the torso, which is over the pelvis.”
Good posture
Caption Good posture
Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times

UCLA physical therapist Keri Pegram shows what good posture looks like.
Bad posture
Caption Bad posture
Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times

Pegram also demonstrates what bad posture looks like.
Proper plank position
Caption Proper plank position
Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times

To help your posture, plank exercises can strengthen your core muscles. A proper plank position looks like a push-up, except your elbows are bent at 90 degrees and you’re resting your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be right below your shoulders and your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet.
Plank exercises
Caption Plank exercises
Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times

If resting your weight on your forearms is too difficult or painful, start with your arms straight instead. Try to hold a plank position for at least 10 seconds, working up over time to a goal of one minute.
Improve your posture
Caption Improve your posture
Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times

Core exercises to enhance posture can include arm and leg motion too, such as this quadruped.

And good posture isn’t just about standing. Sometimes we do the most damage when we sit incorrectly.

Pegram advises clients to sit on their hands and move around until they can feel the two bones at the bottom of their pelvis. “If you are on your tailbone,” she says, “you are already slouching. Even if it’s just a little bit, you are hurting your posture.”

Sleeping posture is just as important as sitting and standing posture. If you sleep on your side, use a knee pillow to keep hips in proper alignment to prevent back pain. Choose one that attaches to the leg, to stay in place all night.

What if you’re still not sure if you’re moving correctly? Or you simply forget? These days, of course, there are products to come to your rescue. The SitSmart device, by BackJoy, eases your fanny into the correct, upright position while you sit. The Up shirt, a fashion-forward T-shirt made in France, will push you back to proper posture when you start to slouch — and set you back a cool $150 in the process. And a smart device called the Lumo Lift will attach to your shirt or bra strap and ping when you slump — in addition to recording steps taken and calories consumed.

Gokhale wrote a book on the subject (“8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back”) and offers a six-class series on posture. Rajesh Natarajan, 45, of Los Gatos, Calif., took her classes after suffering from months of lower back pain and bouncing unsuccessfully from one practitioner to another. These days, he still has back spasms, but they resolve within a day, rather than lasting weeks or months.

“I discovered the basic logic of her teaching is: If you find a way to elongate your spine, your body stays in alignment,” said Natarajan. “The way you walk, stand, sit, it all has an impact.”

As for Carman, she’s learned tricks like not leaning into her computer when she types and pulling herself upright, rather than slouching when she sits.

“It’s all little changes, but they make such a tremendous difference,” she said. “The question is: How can you be kinder to your spine, which is what holds you up so nicely?”


Tips for improving posture

Want to improve your posture? Here are three suggestions from Keri Pegram, a UCLA physical therapist:

–Find your sit bones. Those are the pressure points beneath your pelvis. Make sure you are sitting on them, and not your tailbone. Your tailbone should feel like it is behind you, and while you’re at it, your feet should be on the floor or a footrest.

–Get a lumbar support cushion for your chair. That way you’re not always straightening yourself in your seat and you’re not straining your back, either

–Strengthen your core muscles, particularly with plank exercises. A proper plank position looks like a push-up, except your elbows are bent at 90 degrees and you’re resting your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be right below your shoulders and your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet. Try to hold the position for at least 10 seconds, working up over time to a goal of one minute. If forearms are too difficult or painful, start with your arms straight instead.

Feeling burnout? These tips from a mental health expert could actually help

For people with high-stress jobs — maybe you’re a paramedic, social worker, firefighter, or anyone with challenging deadlines — there are times when your adrenaline is going, you feel really alert and you’re very productive.

But if you stay there all the time without rest, you’re going to burn out, said psychologist Marlene Valter.

Valter is the founder and CEO of AnaVault, a company that supports people with mental health challenges. AnaVault provides resiliency training for all types of demanding professions but, in particular, for peer-support specialists. These are people with lived experience with mental illness who help patients in recovery.

Peers tend to have a lot of trauma in their lives, Valter said. They’ve overcome many challenges to get healthy, and when they want to get back into the workforce, it’s imperative that they can build enough resiliency so they aren’t risking their own mental health.

“But even folks who are usually functioning very well who have been hit with COVID anxiety, depression, and hopelessness, they too will have to think about building back up,” Valter said.

Burnout can take a toll on your self-esteem, she said. You’re tired. You can’t concentrate. You’re acting cold and callous toward people you actually care about. You wonder why you hate this job that you know you love. You start freaking out.

Valter said that the people who are the most vulnerable to burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma are the ones who are big-hearted and really want to help their community.

“The last thing we need is detached people,” she said. “So how do we save our most wonderfully warm-hearted, empathetic people? That’s who we want in these jobs. So how do we preserve them?”

Valter walks us through the six steps to resilience taught in AnaVault’s training, while the co-founders of the peer-run mental health nonprofit Painted Brain — David “Eli” Israelian, Rayshell Chambers, and Dave Leon — share some of the ways they have been able to manage their mental health while supporting others with mental health challenges.



Self-regulation — the ability to manage your emotions and behavior even in the face of trauma — is the foundation of resilience, Valter said.

When we sense danger, the brain activates our sympathetic nervous system, triggering a fight-or-flight response; other parts of our brain shut down so we can cope with the stress in front of us.

“It’s kind of like zebras out on the grassy plains,” Valter said. “They’re grazing. It’s beautiful, warm, relaxing, and they really relax their bodies. Then they see a lion — danger — and they take off immediately.”

As soon as the danger is gone, zebras will go back and relax again, she said. And the human equivalent of that is the way the parasympathetic nervous system shifts our bodies back into relaxation mode when we sense we’re no longer in danger.

“The difference between animals and humans,” she continued, “is when we have that lion show up in our lives, we might take off or we might fight, but then we link memories and emotions and thoughts to that danger. So when we see something similar, we have learned to think that is a dangerous thing.”

Sometimes the new danger is real. Other times, we might be reacting to a past trauma. So the first step is teaching people how to not be impulsive and reactive.

Illustration of a brain wearing headphones and working on a laptop and a nose dangling from a rope over a computer.
Lawrence Rozner, a member of the peer-run mental health nonprofit Painted Brain, drew a “Mission: Impossible” parody where the Brain is on his computer with a headset while the Nose is hanging from a wire attempting to insert a USB drive into a computer port.
(Lawrence Rozner)

“If you’re always stressed and upset and feeling like it’s dangerous, the part of the brain that shuts down is your judgment, creativity, and systematic decision-making,” said Valter.

Sure, you can do some yoga or listen to music for half an hour, but often we don’t have time for that. Valter suggested getting in the habit of taking five to 10 seconds to scan from the top of your head to your toes and relax all the muscles in your body, she said.

Many people think that the part of meditation that helps relax the body is the breathing part, she said, but it’s the relaxing of the muscles. And you can do that throughout the day, 50 times a day.

“Now when you’re facing a stressor, a deadline, a difficult boss or co-worker or family member, you can take five seconds to relax and face the trauma and forever change the wiring of your brain,” said Valter. “This gets you off of an old hamster wheel of anxiety.”



Figure out your purpose. Valter describes this step as brain research and spirituality coming together.

“It’s about the person being free to choose the life they want to live, rather than a life that past ghosts and traumas have patterned them to live,” she said. “It’s up to you to make your code and make your choices, but be thoughtful about it.”

And then if you’re acting in a way that’s against your intention and your code, that’s when you know to stop, relax and think about who you want to be in this situation.


Cognitive reframing and perception change

The third step is about rethinking how you have been looking at certain things in your life — opening yourself up toward a less rigid, more flexible perception of the world.

“You can only change what you have control of,” Valter said. “You can’t change what you don’t have control of.”

It’s not that you shouldn’t still advocate for change, she said, but if you do, it needs to be with intention and passion.



Find your support team, the people who inspire you to be your best and who will give you feedback when you’re not being your best, Valter said.

“It doesn’t have to be the people you work with or your family,” she said. “There’s a group for everybody. … Find the people who care about you, who make you feel free to be yourself.”



“As you get passionate, but then the realities of the world come in, you have to keep doing the work over and over and run into stressors that you didn’t expect,” Valter said.

It’s important to build grit so that in these challenging moments, you can relax and figure it out.



You need to exercise, pay attention to your diet, and sleep — the basics.

But Valter said it’s just as important to learn how to practice self-care quickly at the moment when you get triggered by something stressful.

“It’s about facing traumas with relaxation instead of tensions,” she said.

Rest looks different for different people, and rest doesn’t necessarily look like doing nothing, she said.

Distractions — whatever gets you in that relaxation mode — are good for your mental health. One of the biggest causes of burnout is repetition, she said. So it’s helpful to turn your focus toward something you can lose time in and get sent to another place for a while.

“Even if it’s just for a few minutes, the more that becomes a daily routine, where you include these little distractions and happiness, it makes the work so much easier.”

In the end, Valter said it’s not about living a non-stressful life.

Pro Massage by Nicola, LMT Specializing in Sports Injuries, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.
Pro Massage by Nicola, LMT Specializing in Sports Injuries, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.











*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.