Archive for March, 2010

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

This past Sunday, I “hiked” the halls of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center to peruse the offerings of Adventure Travel Expo vendors. I got some great info on hiking, biking, rock climbing and white water rafting around the country and the world. I plan to tell you more about some of these great adventures in future blog posts. Today, I wanted share the news about an exciting local shop: The Scuba Emporium.

Mark and Laura Linse with David Hoitsma of Scuba Emporium

Mark Linse, one of the Scuba Emporium’s Scuba Diver Trainers, was on hand with a few other staff members to answer questions about scuba diving and, near and dear to my heart, Snorkeling Certification (aka Skin Diver certification). Mark’s lovely wife, Laura Linse, and team member, David Hoitsma, are also Dive Instructors at the Emporium and shared their enthusiasm and adventure travel stories with us.

I love to snorkel when I visit warmer waters of the world. but Mark and his team told me that one of the best places to scuba dive is in…Lake Michigan! Apparently, there are many “wrecks” in the lake and this attracts interesting mollusks and other lake creatures. More info on Scuba Diving in the Great Lakes here.

Snorkeling Training

Mark also told me that it’s recommended to wear a snorkling “vest” when you snorkle so that you can inflate it if you get caught in riptides. The vest will allow you to stay above the water level so you can breath while trying to swim back to shore. Which would have been great to know when I was snorkeling in rough waters of Costa Rica a few years ago! These tips and many others are part of the Skin Diving Certification at Scuba Emporium. Cost About $50 for 2 hours of training. I think that’s not a bad price to pay to help save my life the next time I snorkel!

Scuba Diving Training

Scuba Diving Training at Adventure Travel Expo 2010-Be a Diver!

For those that missed the scuba training at the Adventure Travel Expo last weekend, and want to “take the plunge” and obtain a scuba certification, the basic PADI course is for you. From the website:

The PADI Scuba Diver program is a pre-entry level certification that is perfect for vacationers or people who only plan to dive a couple times a year.

As a subprogram of the PADI Open Water Diver program, the PADI Scuba Diver rating allows you to get certified quickly and easily by minimizing time constraints. With the PADI Scuba Diver certification you can dive under the direct supervision of a PADI Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, Instructor or higher professional on your next vacation or dive trip.  cost: $127-200 depending on when you take the course. For more information about this course, click here.

In addition to lessons, the Scuba Emporium also sells a large variety of scuba and snorkeling equipment. Proper fit of masks and equipment is important, and the experts here will help you find the best equipment to fit your body and face.

Scuba Emporium Location
16336 S 104th Avenue
Orland Park, IL 60467
(708) 226-1614
See map

Hours: Mon-Fri 10-8, Sat 10-5
Sundays – Closed, Out diving

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Biking is A Great Way to Exercise

Our bodies change over time. As we age we tend to lose bone and muscle mass. However, that’s no reason to avoid fitness! In fact, in the U.S., active people now tend to maintain their fitness well into their senior years.

Now there is a blog that is devoted to “Fitness Over 40.” and it’s aptly named over40fitnessguide.

Check out some of the recent posts from this blog:

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Adventure Travel Show March 20-21, 2010

The winter has a lot of people itching to get away from it all. Now that Spring is showing signs of heading our way, it’s a great time to think about your next vacation or adventure trip.And why not combine fitness with adventure for your next trip?! Learn how from the experts this weekend (March 20-21) at the Travel and Adventure Show at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

What is the Adventure Travel Show?

The world’s largest travel and adventure show – the Travel & Adventure Show – will take place the weekend of March 20 & 21, 2010.

The event gathers hundreds of captivating destinations from exotic India to captivating Cayman and exciting, activities: a huge scuba pool, kayak demonstrations, an aerial zip line, a rope adventure course, cultural performers and much more.  The Travel & Adventure Show is THE place to kick off the winter blahs and plan that ultimate vacation.

Events Include

Learn to Scuba Dive

Learn to Scuba Dive in a Heated Pool!
Take advantage of free scuba lessons from a certified diving instructor.  Wetsuits, masks, air tanks – even hairdryers – are provided. Visitors 10 and older can dive into the 4-feet-deep, 18,000- gallon scuba pool and even play with an underwater scooter and MP3 Players. Bring your swimsuit and you are ready to go!

Saturday March 20, 2:30pm – 3:30pm Classic Hikes of the World
Peter Potterfield
Adventure Journalist and Editor of GreatOutdoors.com

From the Swedish Arctic to the highlands of Ireland to the wilds of New Zealand, travel along with Potterfield who has hiked more than 5,000 miles over six continents in his quest to discover the world’s best backcountry trails.
Sunday, March 21, 2:30pm – 3:30pm

Featured Presentation, Sunday March 21, 2010 from 2:30-3:30pm
Around the World with Julia Dimon

Julia Dimon
TV host, writer and travel expert
co-host, Word Travels

Julia Dimon (co-host of Word Travels, a 39-episode TV series on National Geographic Adventure about the real lives of travel writers) talks about her adventures across some 80 countries. From hiking with mountain gorillas in Uganda, to swimming with whale sharks in Mozambique, chugging back fresh Cobra blood in Vietnam, to visiting radioactive Chernobyl, Julia shares her quirky travel experiences and offers advice on planning your own inspirational adventures. Among many topics, Julia will talk about hidden-gem destinations, helpful travel tools, around the world travel, socially-responsible adventures, the reality of filming a travel TV show and how you can become a travel writer.

Sunday, March 21, 2010 from 3:15pm – 3:45pm
Climbing Kilimanjaro

Macon Dunnagan
Zara Tours

Macon Dunnagan has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro not once….but 13 times! And he’s climbed every route up the fabled mountain. His most recent climb was only 3 weeks ago and he’s going to be showing video from this climb and sharing with you his amazing story, followed by a question and answer period.

There are many many more events, trade show vendor exhibits and presentations. Go to the Adventure travel website for more info here.

Where is the Adventure Show?

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont

5555 N. River Rd., Rosemont, IL 60018


Dancers at Adventure Show Global Stage

When is the Adventure Show

Public Show Hours:
Saturday, March 20: 10:30am-5:00pm
Sunday, March 21: 11:00am-4:00pm

The Global Stage has dance shows from around the world all weekend!

Travel Trade Hours:
Saturday, March 20: 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday, March 21: 11:00am-4:00pm

What’s the admission Fee and How Do I Get Tickets?

Adults: $15 per day. Children under 16 Free per day.
Buy tickets online click here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Chicago Wellness Magazine

Did you know that Chicago has it’s own wellness magazine entitled, appropriately, Chicago Wellness Magazine? Tooling around the Internet, I found the magazine’s website and was intrigued by their offerings.

The latest issue of Chicago Wellness magazine has these stories in store for you:
• Find your Fit by JJ Rusch
• Mind Body Connection by Andrea Metcalf
• Try Reducing Pain the Natural Way
• Vitamin Jay by Jayson Kroner, Have Pills, Will Travel
• On the Shelves New Product Reviews
• Reader Discounts New Offer Round Up
• Grill Wisely Tips for a Safe and Great Grilling Season
• Fiber and Your Colon (The Scoop on Poop)
• The Price of Gas
• Soy what? I’ll Tofu!

In reading through the biography of it’s publisher, I was impressed how her story mirrors that of so many Chicagoans moving from an unhealthy lifestyle to an advocate of wellness. From the Chicago Wellness Magazine website, here is publisher Joanne Rusch’s wellness story:

On April 1, 2000 Joanne Rusch tipped the scale at 217 when she gave birth to her first and only child at the age of forty.

Six months later struggling to lose the last 25 pounds of maternity weight she had gained, Joanne was cast as a member of Good Morning America’s first Lock the Door Lose the Weight series, which aired in November of 2000. By the fall of 2001, she had lost that last 25 and more. The experience set forth into motion a series of life altering changes both personally and professionally.

Plagued by weight problems all her life, beginning with a “chubby childhood”, Joanne was passionate about sharing her newfound insights for weight control. She spent the next year writing and developing an inspirational website Scaleitdown.com. Her website and first reduced calorie cookbook, the “Sweets Edition” both debuted in November of 2002. Cookbook editions for: Appetizers, Breads & Soups, Casseroles and Salads followed.

Convinced the missing link to achieving healthier lifestyles fell somewhere between real life application and the barrage of helpful (and not so helpful) information we receive daily, Joanne began devoting herself to inspiring others to seek out personal plans to work in tandem with their own unique lifestyles, tastes and schedule demands and began working with small groups and individuals.

Offered her own column in Chicago Wellness Magazine (CWM) in July of 2004, Joanne spent the next year and a half as an editor and columnist penning her column under, “Find your Fit”, which quickly became her working motto.

At the NBC affiliate in Chicago, Joanne further honed her media skills as a recurring guest of fitness reporter, Michael Sena, where she shared reduced calorie recipes and dishes on his morning news segments. In January of 2006, she was offered a returning monthly guest spot to do healthy based consumer food segments, for which she was soon dubbed the “Food Cop”, by NBC5 morning anchor, Dick Johnson.

Food Cop at the Food Show—on location with NBC5 Morning Anchor, Dick Johnson reviewing new products. (Food Cop segments can be viewed by clicking the NBC logo at chicagowellnessmagazine.com.)

Joanne became the succeeding publisher of CWM in mid-2006 and redirected the publication’s focus to a consumer based feel. Educational and inspirational information and ideas on all things which affect our desires and efforts to achieve and live well-balanced lifestyles is the working theme of CWM today.

Want to subscribe to the magazine? It’s free! Click here to subscribe.

Note: Neither I, nor Working Well Massage has any affiliation with Chicago Wellness Magazine or  Joanne Rusch. I just wanted to share yet another source of wellness info with my Chicago based readers!

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Yoga Video Tree Pose - Vrksasana
Image by myyogaonline via Flickr

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I started practicing yoga about 18 years ago. I was working at a computer all day and went to get my first professional massage. During the massage, my massage therapist lifted my arms over my head to  stretch and I thought, “Wow, I never move my arms anywhere but up to my keyboard and mouse. this arm stretching stuff feels great!” At that time I didn’t stretch much and if I did, it was my legs that I stretched, not my arms or back. She recommended yoga and I joined my first yoga class at the local YMCA.
Through the years, I’ve been able to attend many yoga classes, workshops and do my own home yoga practice. I find yoga not only helpful to my body, but is also very calming, relaxing and stress reducing. Now research shows that practicing yoga actually has a chemical effect on your brain in that it increases levels of a neurotransmitter, GABA, believed to calm the nervous system.

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that for experienced yoga practitioners, brain GABA levels increase by 27% after a session of yoga. This suggests that the practice of yoga should be explored as a treatment for disorders with low GABA levels such as depression and anxiety disorders. Authors of the study conclude that future studies should compare yoga to other forms of exercise to help determine whether yoga or exercise alone can alter GABA levels.

The Study

The sample subjects of the study included of 8 yoga practitioners and 11 comparison subjects. The Yoga practitioners completed a 60-minute yoga session and comparison subjects completed a 60-minute reading session. According to Suite 101, “Magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging conducted before and immediately after each intervention indicated that the yoga practitioners had a 27% increase in GABA levels after the yoga session but no increase after the reading session.”

According to Barry Keate of Arches, Tinninus Formulas, this ability of yoga to increase GABA also has promising applications for sufferers of tinnitus due to its abilility to increase GABA levels. In his article, “How Yoga Increases GABA Levels And Improves Tinnitus” he quotes Dr. Chris Streeter, the lead researcher of the study and a yoga practioner herself about the implications of her study:

Dr. Chris Streeter stated in a newspaper interview “I’m quite sure this is the first study that’s shown there is measurable change in a major brain neurotransmitter with a behavioral intervention such as yoga. What’s really fabulous is this is hard science that is able to clearly document neurochemical changes in the brain.”

Dr. Streeter learned that the National Institutes of Health gave a high score to her research grant proposal for a larger yoga-GABA study and hopes to begin soon. “It will be a much bigger study,” she said. “We will use yoga-naïve people to gauge how regular practice can change GABA levels. It will also include more ability to gauge the positive effects of yoga over time.”

How Do GABA Levels Affect Anxiety and Depression?

Read the excerpt which follows from Laura Owens article in Suite 101, “GABA and Yoga: Decrease Depression and Anxiety: Yoga Boosts Essential Calming Neurotransmitter in Brain”

GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid is an amino acid made in brain cells from glutamate. It functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it blocks nerve impulses. Without GABA, nerve cells fire too often and too easily. GABA is especially abundant in the cerebral cortex, where thinking occurs and sensations are interpreted, (Jacob J. Schor, N.D. and Rena A. Bloom, N.D.,“GABA: Gamma-Amino Buytric Acid,” Naturopathic Clinic News. Accessed January 14, 2009.)

As one of the primary neurotransmitters, GABA is responsible for inhibitory processes. It elevates the production of alpha waves associated with feeling relaxed (without drowsiness) while boosting mental alertness. Moreover, GABA lowers beta waves that contribute to a state of nervousness, racing thoughts and hyperactivity.

Research, including one study published in the Trends of Pharmacology Science indicate that a dysfunction in the GABA system can contribute to anxiety and depression. (Cryan JF, Kaupmann K, ” ‘B’ happy!: A role for GABA (B) receptors in anxiety and depression.” Trends Pharmacology Science, 2005 January 26 (1):36-43.

Read more at Suite101: GABA and Yoga: Decrease Depression and Anxiety: Yoga Boosts Essential Calming Neurotransmitter in Brain

For an abstract of the actual research on Yoga and GABA, click here.

How Does GABA Effect Tinnitus?

Barry Keates explores research on GABA and tinnitus. Read an excerpt from his article, “How Yoga Increases GABA Levels And Improves Tinnitus” below.

Dr. Andrew Shulman

In 2002, Drs. Abraham Shulman, Arnold Strashun and Barbara Goldstein, from the Martha Entemann Tinnitus Research Center, published a paper describing the common central pathway through the brain through which all tinnitus symptoms must travel. (Shulman A, Strashun A, Goldstein B. GABA-Benzodiazepine-Chloride Receptor-Targeted Therapy for Tinnitus Control. Int Tinnitus J. 2002;8(1):30-6.) This pathway, they determined, is the chemical receptor called gamma-aminobutyric acid-benzodiazepine-chloride receptor (GABA/BZ/Cl) in the medial temporal lobe system. The researchers stated the function of the GABA receptor is to inhibit central nervous system synapse activity.

Deficiency in the GABA receptor is directly related to the worsening of tinnitus, which is marked by increased emotional difficulty, anxiety, stress, depression and fear. Impairment of GABA function also leads to convulsions, which provides clinical support for the concept that tinnitus is an epileptic-like auditory phenomenon.

Read Barry Keates entire article here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Get fit and help support a good cause! Spring is coming to Chicago and with it are a host of events that allow Chicagoans to run, walk, bike and swim to raise money for good causes. A dear friend of mine, Joey Feinstein, went from massage therapist to Presidio business school graduate where he obtained an MBA in Sustainabel Resources. Joey started an innovative charity bicycle ride after he graduated, called Climate Cycle. Last year Working Well Massage therapists braved a chilly muddy day to give massages to Climate Cycle riders. It was a lot of fun, we made many cyclists happy and we got to hear great music and sample food from local merchants. I am so impressed by all Joey and his team at Climate Cycle have accomplished in just a few short years. This May, I plan on riding in the event myself!

What is Climate Cycle?

Climate Cycle is a non-profit organization that empowers youth to become leaders of the clean energy movement by installing solar energy systems and funding sustainability education in local Chicago area public schools. This is made possible by alliances between students, community organizations and concerned citizens to usher in the new green economy.

Climate Cycle creates local solutions to global pollution. At the inaugural bike-a-thon in May 2009, 350 participants raised $67,000 to install solar energy on four schools. Because more money is spent on utilities than textbooks and computers combined, the time to retool our schools is now.

When’s the Ride?

Climate Cycle’s May 15th, 2010 Solar Schools Ride is a family and fan friendly fundraiser in which riders garner pledges in advance of the ride. Proceeds go to install solar energy systems in local public schools. To register click here.

Where’s the Ride?

Cyclists select from a 4, 10, 20 or 62-mile course along picturesque Lake Michigan. All starting and end points are in downtown Chicago, with the exception of the 62-mile “metric century” course, which begins at the Indiana Dunes and ends in downtown Chicago.

A post ride celebration follows the ride. This festive event includes music, free lunches for all riders, sustainability showcases, goody bags, a raffle and kid friendly activities.

Information for the 4, 10, 20 mile routes

Start Point: DuSable Harbor – Lakeshore and Madison, in the north end of Grant park

Ride registration starts at 9:00 a.m. Solar Schools festival is 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in DuSable Harbor. Registration fee is $25. The Fund raising Minimum for the 4, 10, 20 Mile Routes is
$200 for adults. Fund raising minimum for college students is $75. Fund raising minimum for ages 12-18 years is $60. Children younger than 12 and “virtual fundraisers” have no registration fee or minimum fund raising requirements.

To register click here.

Note: Fund raising is made super easy. Climate Cycle is using a service called First Giving to handle registration and fund raising. Gone are the days you have to walk around the office with a clipboard soliciting pledges for your fund raising efforts. now all you have to do is give friends and family your link to the Climate Cycle page on First Giving and they can donate online!

Information for the 62 mile route
Starting Point is Indiana Dunes State Park. Ride registration starts at 6:00 a.m. Ride starts at 7:00 a.m. at the Indiana Dunes State Park and finishes at DuSable Harbor.

Registration fee is $25. Fund raising minimum is $500 for the 62 mile ride. Fund raising minimum for college students for the 62 mile ride is$75. Fund raising minimum for ages 12-18 years for the 62 mile ride is $60. Children younger than 12 and “virtual fundraisers” have no registration fee or minimum fund raising requirements.

To register click here.

What Support is Offered for Riders?

The Ride is fully supported. Climate Cycle will provide sag vehicles, several rest stops along the way with food, water, and restrooms, and ride marshals for light bike maintenance support. Climate Cycle is currently reviewing options to transport riders and bikes to the Dunes, but as of now all riders are expected to transport themselves.

To register now and get more ride information, click here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Ever wanted to start your own city garden? Or maybe you want to grow an herb garden but aren’t sure how to go about it.  Eating healthy starts with using healthy ingredients. Gardening can be an enjoyable way to de-stress and spend some time working with your hands and enjoying the outdoors.

FamilyFarmedEXPO is a fantastic event this weekend that provides a variety of speakers and workshops to teach you all you want to know about gardening, growing herbs, buying local produce and generally eating and producing your own food in an environmentally friendly and healthy manner.

Friday features the Midwest’s leading local food trade show, our Meet the Buyers reception, an innovative Food Policy Summit, and the scrumptious Localicious Party to cap the day.

Saturday features cooking demos from celebrity chefs, educational seminars and an interactive Kids Corner.  Exhibitors offer a wide selection of local food, gifts and useful information to help you eat locally and healthy year-round.

Some of the workshops I recommend on Saturday, March 13, include:
Growing & Using Herbs & Botanicals From 12:30 – 1:45 pm

Growing and using herbs and botanicals to feed the senses.

• Locavore 365 – Preserving Fresh Grown Food from 3:30 –  4:45 pm

Enjoy local food year round by preserving the food you enjoy most.

Local & Organic Eating on a Dime Also from 12:30 – 1:45 pm

Eating organic food on a budget.

Farming in the City from 2:00 – 3:15 pm

Growing food between the skyscrapers and feeding local communities.

Drinking Farm to Glass from 3:30 –  4:45 pm

Learn how the beverages you choose can sustain your community.

For a list of all the workshops available on Saturday, March 13 click here.

And don’t forget, the CHEF COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS on Saturday:

10:30 – 11:30 am – Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/Xoco

12:00 – 1:00 pm – Paul Virant, Vie

1:15 – 2:15 pm – Paul Kahan, Blackbird/Avec/Publican

2:30 – 3:30 pm – Jo Kaucher & Kim Gracen, Chicago Diner

3:45 – 4:45 pm – Gale Gand, Tru

Where Do I Get Tickets?

Ticket to the event on Saturday are $15 if you buy online and $20 at the door. Click here to purchase tickets.

Where is the Event?

UIC Forum

The UIC Forum is located at the corner of Halsted and W. Roosevelt.

The address is 725 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60607

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