Why Massages Are So Healthy

Massage is often thought of as an enjoyable, relaxing experience for a vacation, but it is in fact incredibly beneficial for your health. If done correctly, massage and bodywork treatments can:

• Alleviate of back pain and improved range of motion
• Assist with labor for pregnant women
• Enhance the immune system by stimulating lymph flow
• Exercise and stretch weak or tight muscles
• Improve the condition of the skin
• Reduce muscle spasms and cramping
• Help prepare for and recover from workouts
• Release endorphins- the body’s natural pain killer
• Improve circulation
• Relieve emotional and physical stress

These are only a few of the many helpful aspects of massage. Instead of treating yourself to an expensive massage on the rare occasion, you may want to consider going to regular, half hour sessions a few times a month. Or, you and your partner or a friend can attend massage classes, and then give each other free treatments!

The Government Health Care Plan Covers “Wellness Visits” And Preventative Care

The New Year has brought some positive changes to those who receive Medicare benefits. Now, in addition to covering doctors’ visits when you are ill, the government sponsored health care plan also covers ‘wellness visits’ and other preventative care measures. According to the new guidelines which went into effect on January 1st, 2011, most preventative care will be 100% covered by Medicare with no deductible or co-payments.

People with traditional Medicare coverage can now take one free ‘wellness visit’ to their doctor every year. At this check-up they can discuss all kinds of issues with the goal of preventing disease from arising, including evaluating the patients family history, other health-care professionals the patient is seeing, and the medications he is on.

The doctor will also make sure the patient is on schedule with cancer screenings, vaccinations and other preventative tests. And not only is this visit free, but the screenings and tests, such as a mammogram or colorectal cancer screening are completely covered by Medicare as well. Even the doctor-recommended pneumococcal -a vaccine, which at the moment over 40% of seniors do not get, will be free of charge. If everyone at risk received this vaccine, many, and perhaps all of the 40,000 Americans who die each year from pneumonia, would live.

Hope for New Device in Helping to Find Cancer Sooner

The new cancer cell detection device, whose development was announced on Monday by Johnson & Johnson and its inventors from Massachusetts General Hospital , could change the way doctors test for and treat cancer.

Today mammograms, colonoscopies, etc are the only, ways that we have to screen for a variety of different cancers. The hope is that this new device, which can find one cancer cell among millions of healthy cells, will bring better screening procedure for these deadly diseases.

“There’s a lot of potential here, and that’s why there’s a lot of excitement,” said Dr. Mark Kris, lung cancer chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Sloan-Kettering is another one of the four cancer centers which will be studying the test this year.

Presently, many cancers are diagnosed through needle biopsies which often do not give a large enough sample to determine the biochemical pathways or the genes that control the tumor’s unimpeded growth. Alternatively, the sample may no longer be available when the patient gets to the specialist who will prescribe his treatment.

This new tool actually captures the cancer cell, which is then available for study. Doctors can easily follow a patient’s response to drug and/or radiation therapy by looking for even just one cell, in the blood. Dr. Haber of Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the developers of this test said, “If you could find out quickly, ‘this drug is working, stay on it,’ or ‘this drug is not working, try something else,’ that would be huge.”

New Test To Detect Cancer When It Starts

Medical products giant Johnson & Johnson is planning to announce today that they, together with researchers in Boston, are planning on marketing a test so sensitive that it can detect the presence of just one cancer cell among a billion normal cells. Four large cancer research centers are planning on beginning studies to assess the usefulness and accuracy of the test and will be using it on an experimental basis this coming year.

According to many doctors, having a stray cancer cell lurking in your blood is an indication that the tumor that you already have, but which has gone un-diagnosed until now, has spread or is getting ready to spread. Doctors believe that having such a test on hand can dramatically alter the way care is delivered to patients. A large number of cancer types, including breast, prostate, colon and lung cancers can be detected with this new test .

Dr. Daniel Haber, the chief of the cancer center at Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the inventors of the test explained its usefulness. “This is like a liquid biopsy which avoids painful tissue sampling and may give a better way to monitor patients than periodic imaging scans.”

Tornadoes Spread Destruction and Death in Missouri and Arkansas

Tornadoes struck Arkansas and Missouri with deadly force on New Year’s Eve, leaving seven dead and dozens more injured. Six of the dead were killed on Friday, while the seventh died of her injuries on Saturday.

The seventh victim was with a friend when her trailer was hit by a twister. Bruce Southard, the chief of the Rolla Rural Fire Department explained that there was nothing left of the trailer except for its frame. Debris was scattered as far away as 40-50 yards from the trailer’s location. Southard said “It’s like you set a bomb off in it. It just annihilated it.”

At a farmstead not far from the trailer Loretta Anderson, 64-year-old grandmother was sitting with her granddaughter Megan Ross, 21, when the tornado struck. Mrs. Andersen was killed in the onslaught.

In addition to the deaths and injuries power was curtailed to about 20,000 customers, with 10,000 still without power by Saturday afternoon. According to the Governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, who was touring the areas damaged by the tornadoes, there was damage also not far from St. Louis.