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Massage Message, Issue 14b: frankincense for arthritis, chocolate & apples prevent stroke and more
September 20, 2011

I feel the summer is over and we are settling into autumn. As I write rain is lashing against the window. The fire in my treatment room – in the stove that is – fortunately we did not have a house fire - reminds me of the positive aspects of the approaching colder weather. I include a couple of articles on seasonal foods: apples, pears and chocolate (always in season.

I was most annoyed two weeks ago – the sign outside my house was stolen yet again. It was new and tied to a tree. I have to re-think the sign situation and I am waiting for an inspiration. The new sign should not be out of metal, nor look as if it is made from metal as not to tempt the scrap dealers. It should be visible from the car park and ideally from Carlton Hill at the top of the road. Any ideas?

I had a look at new studies out on massage – they are so uninspiring. Yes, massage is good for neck and back ache (new study on the latter), yes it helps with all sorts of ailments from constipation to depression, I know! And not only from my own experience. I see people feeling better after a treatment, and I have colleagues who tell me the same! Even I am sometimes surprised by the results – a chronic head ache was relieved in a five minute massage. She was considering surgery, but it was mainly the sternocleidomastoid muscle – a couple of trigger points did the trick.

Touching Well facebook page

I have recently set up a Touching Well facebook page. Please have a look, maybe you like it. It can be found on . I tend to update the Touching Well facebook page more frequently. I am working my way round facebook, but many aspects remain a deep mystery to me. Some clients have left feedback on the page, thank you.

Frankincense is a wise choice for treating arthritis

The Three Wise Men of the New Testament may have known something doctors don’t – frankincense can help ease arthritis. Frankincense was one of the three gifts given to the baby Jesus – and happens to be a powerful antidote to arthritic pain.

Researchers from Cardiff University have discovered that the gum is a natural anti-inflammatory and as such can help reduce pain and improve mobility in people with osteoarthritis. The researchers are using Boswellia frereana, a rare form of frankincense, in a series of ongoing trials with arthritis sufferers.

Chocolate is as good as a drug for reducing heart risks

Chocolate could be as beneficial as a powerful drug in reducing the risk of heart disease. The risk can reduce by nearly 40 per cent if you eat enough chocolate. The risk of stroke was also reduced by 29 per cent among those who ate the most chocolate.

Researchers from Cambridge University reviewed seven studies that involved more than 100,000 participants to discover just how good chocolate is for us. Chocolate has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, and dark chocolate is the most beneficial. The researchers looked at the consumption of chocolate in all its variations – including milk and white chocolate and even chocolate biscuits. Had they looked only at dark chocolate, the health benefits could well have been even better. (British Medical Journal, 2011; 343: d4488).

Here is a study close to my heart – chocolate is good for you. Not only dark chocolate but also milk and white chocolate. I love milk chocolate, the milkier the better. I love the phase “if you eat enough”. Yes, I will, I promise! I just go and get a few pieces....

An apple a day keeps a stroke away

Eating just one apple or pear every day nearly halves the risk of stroke. ‘White’ fruit and vegetables have a special protective quality against stroke, say researchers. For every 25 grams of white fruit and vegetables you eat, there is a nine per cent lower risk of stroke – and as an average apple is 120 grams, eating one a day almost halves the risk.

Researchers from Wageningen University in Holland discovered the stroke-protective qualities of ‘white’ fruit and vegetable when they tracked the health profiles of 20,069 adults for 10 years. Apples and pears are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid, and researchers think this has the protective effect against stroke. (Source: Stroke, 2011; doi: 10.1161)

This is just as well as we are inundated with apples. Apple juice, apple cake, apple crumble, stewed apple and eating them as they are! My favourite is apple crumble, particularly nice with oats and lemon essential oil in the topping.

High-protein diet best for losing belly fat

Eating a high protein diet is a more effective way to reduce fat round the belly than a lower proteine/lower dairy diet. This discovery has been made by researchers who put three groups of overweight women through their paces in the gym. But although the gym workout was the same for each group, the diet was different each time. The women were put either on a low-protein/low-dairy diet, a low-protein/medium-dairy diet, or a high-protein/high-dairy diet. The high-protein/high-dairy group lost twice as much belly fat as the low-protein group.

However, you might want to know that the study was funded by the Dairy Farmers of Canada and the US Dairy Research Institute, so please take the results with a pinch of salt. (Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 141: 1626).

Unhealthy gums can make it more difficult to conceive

Women who find it difficult to conceive should take a look at their gums. Unhealthy gums (periodontal disease) can be a factor when it comes to getting pregnant.

In a study of 3,737 pregnant women, researchers from the University of Western Australia discovered that those with gum disease took seven months to conceive, two months longer than did women with healthy gums. The problem was more marked among non-Caucasian women; in this group, those with gum disease took a full year longer to conceive compared to women with healthy gums. (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, August 1, 2011)

Issue 14a of the Massage Message, 8 July 2011.
Regina Dengler
Touching Well
0115 8457113
regina @

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