July 16, 2018

Under the spotlight: Cortisol

Think of cortisol as your body’s alarm system. It’s the main stress hormone which helps fuel your body’s fight or flight response in emergencies. Cortisol works with certain parts of the brain to help control your mood, motivation and fear responses. What does cortisol do? Triangle-shaped hormones called the adrenal glands make cortisol. Almost every cell in your body has receptors for cortisol, so this means that cortisol is involved in different actions in the body. These include: Managing how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Acting as an anti-inflammatory when needed. Regulating your blood pressure. Increasing your blood sugar (glucose). Regulating…
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General knowledge
July 16, 2018

Showers vs. baths: which is better?

Whether your preference is hopping in the shower first thing in the morning or indulging in cosy, warm baths after work, both have perks. But are baths or showers better? Let’s explore the different benefits of baths and showers. If you want to save water A long soak after a hard day sounds great, but the average tub uses approximately 136 litres of water to fill! On the other hand, a 10-minute shower uses just 76 litres. With the Cape Town water crisis, it makes sense for us all to be more water-wise. For example, take two-minute showers. The best…
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Healthy Lifestyle
July 16, 2018

Is massage therapy good for your health?

You might think of a massage as a luxury, but did you know it has health benefits too? Massage therapy is known as “the art of rubbing”. It dates back thousands of years and today, it’s used for different health purposes. Massage therapists use different techniques. They, rub, press and manipulate muscles and soft tissue in the body. These practitioners usually work with their hands and fingers, but may also use their elbows, feet and forearms, depending on the type of therapy. Before you’re given a massage, your therapist may ask you different questions about your medical history and will…
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Autoimmune Conditions
June 13, 2018

What exactly is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of your body, including your skin, joints or organs. With lupus, your body experiences autoimmunity. This means that your immune system becomes confused and can’t tell the difference between your body’s healthy tissues and “foreign invaders” like viruses, bacteria and germs. As a result, the immune system attacks the healthy tissues and organs, which harms your body in different ways. It may cause inflammation, pain and damage to different parts of the body. Lupus ranges from mild to life-threatening and if treated, most people can live a full life.…
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January 5, 2018

Why do I have dark rings under my eyes?

Eek! You have a date tonight and there are dark circles under your eyes… again. You’ve tried sleeping for eight hours every night, but this doesn’t seem to make any difference. What now? A lot of people suffer from these dark rings. The dark rings are basically just the blood vessels underneath the eyes that are visible through the skin. The skin around the eyes are naturally very thin, so depending on hydration, blood flow and the colour and thickness of the skin, these dark rings may be more or less visible. Lack sleep and too much alcohol are the…
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Symptoms, Aches & Pains
December 8, 2017

Could you have fibromyalgia?

You finally crawl into bed after a long and taxing day, looking forward to nothing more than a few blissful hours of sleep. Except, it’s not. Your body and muscles ache in weird ways and you feel odd prickles of pain all through the night. What’s going on? It could be fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, but it’s not progressive or life-threatening. Nor does it have anything to do with muscle, nerve or joint injury, or any serious tissue damage or disease. People with fibromyalgia are not at greater risk for other musculoskeletal diseases. Fibromyalgia is a muscular pain…
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October 27, 2017

The ABC of Stress

Medically speaking, stress is the body’s emotional, physical, psychological and behavioural response to certain internal and external influences (stressors.) It’s not just humans that deal with stress, every living organism has a stress response that allows it to survive and evolve. And while small amounts of stress are actually good for us in that they keep us motivated and on our toes, persistent day-to-day stress is linked to a number of serious health conditions. The most common stressors tend to include: stress at work and home, relationship woes, family troubles and financial debt. Whatever your reason for being stressed out,…
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September 28, 2017

Turn exam stress into a superpower

Exam season is on us, and so are soaring stress levels. Stress is the way your body responds to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds with a chain of stress hormones. These “helpers” prepare your body to take action during an emergency. The difference between stress and panic Don’t run away from stress, though! In the right amounts, at the right time, stress can be harnessed for its positive effects. When the brain recognises stress, your body releases chemicals like epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. These “spike” blood pressure and heart rate which…
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Mental & Emotional Health
September 8, 2017

Treat stress, anxiety and depression with Mindfulness

Maybe someone mentioned mindfulness to you, and you were curious. But then, they said “meditation”, and your eyes glazed over. We get it. Meditation sounds like something that only certain religions, yogis and health-nuts practice. So what does it have to do with science, health and your wellbeing? What is mindfulness? Think of your mind as having different 'states' of functioning: sleep-state, focus-state, 'zoning out'-state, creative-state, stress-state, relax-state, and so on. The mindfulness-state is just another state of mind. The reason mindfulness has become so popular recently, is that scientists have discovered that this state of mind can help people…
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Food & nutrition
July 13, 2017

The relaxing magic of magnesium

Think of magnesium as a secret little helper; the one you never knew you needed. Roughly 50% of our body’s total magnesium is stored in our bones while the remaining magnesium is mostly found in the cells of body tissues and organs. It is involved in just about every aspect of biochemical metabolism, but it can quickly become depleted, especially during extreme stress. Just how important is magnesium? It’s a vital mineral for the muscles, heart and kidneys; keeping your organs functioning in tip-top condition. It activates over 300 enzymes found in all body tissues that translate to biochemical reactions…
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