Archive for May, 2011

Gardening is healthy for you! Image by Sue Shekut.

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

Gardening can be a big part of your wellness plan for several reasons:

1. You can grow your own herbs and vegetables for a healthy diet.

2. Being in nature can have a calming effect on your nervous system, reducing the negative effects of stress.

3. Focusing on gardening can also be meditative, in that it’s tough to garden well and pay attention to your cell phone, emails and other distractions. When I garden, it’s me and the dirt and the plants. I get a reprieve from work stressors and electronic interruptions as I plant, weed and tend to my garden.

4. When your garden is planted, several varieties of herbs can help control insects and keep your patio or garden area free of pests!

Ecochem has a great list of herbs and which insects they repel here.
From the Ecochem website::

• Basil controls flies and mosquitoes
• Datura controls Japanese beetles
• Garlic controls Japanese beetle, aphids, weevils, fruit tree borers, spider mites
• Rosemary controls cabbage moths, bean beetles, carrot flies, malaria mosquitoes
• Sage controls cabbage moths, carrot flies, ticks
• Spearmint controls ants, aphids
• Wormword controls animal intruders, cabbage worm butterflies, black flea beetles, malaria mosquitoes

For the complete list of herbs and the insects they control, click here.

Beautiful Chicago potted garden. Image by Sue Shekut.

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

I ran across a very funny post today “How to get a Bad Massage” linked by a fellow Massage Therapist on Facebook. It’s a sarcastic list of things you can do to guarantee you will have a horrible massage experience. Posted by “Mole” a part-time massage therapist, former artist, part-time not-for-profit worker, and  blogger. And he loves wind and rain and clouds.  Click here to read the entire post. Well worth the 5 minutes of your time.

Who is the Mole?

Dale Favier, a massage therapist in Portland Oregon.
Dale does a nice job explaining who he is on his About Me page here.

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

Teaching kids about the benefits of fitness AND the benefits of helping others is one reason I am a big fan of Breakthrough Ministries new blog and new cause: Breakthrough Runners blog and the African Running Program. The Running program sends kids from East Garfield Park’s Breakthrough Ministries Running club to Africa to meet three of the Africa children the Chicago kids are sponsoring. Breakthrough Ministries has been offering a boys and girls running club for students in East Garfield Park for the past two years. The club pairs adult mentors with adolescent students to train and run races each fall. While East Garfield Par  ranks at the top of the city for crime and drug use every year and is one of Chicago’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods,  it is teeming with brilliant and talented young students.  According to one of the posts in Breakthrough Runners Blog about the kid’s devotion to running: Over the past 2 years of running club, the Breakthrough youth have consistently shown up to as early as 6am on Saturday mornings despite the weather.  During the first year (09) our girls ran through hail and freezing rain on more than one occasion.  Last year our boys ran on the lakefront during a day in which the winds blew with gusts up to 60 mph and the sand from the beach mixed with rain was literally cutting them till their legs bled as the ran.

Breakthrough Runners

A representative from World Vision helped 6 runners from Breakthrough Running Club (Nick, Tony, Alesha, She-She, Ashley and Cheyenne) find children to sponsor AND for the Chicago runners to meet in a remote villages in South Africa, through World Vision’s Child Sponsorship Campaign. World Vision is a huge humanitarian aid organization that is working for sustainable solutions to global poverty in over 100 different countries. The African Running Club was charged with finding child sponsorships (through World Vision) for 3 of the kids who live in area that they will be visiting on their trip to Africa. Thus far the Breakthrough Runners have found sponsors for 10 children in Africa. However, they still need sponsors for 8 more children to meet their goal of sponsoring 18 African children.

The six Breakthrough Runners left Chicago today for their trip to visit the children they sponsor in Africa!  Read all about it here.

If you would like to help the Breakthrough Runners meet their sponsorship goals, email rfunk@breakthrough.org for more info about helping with sponsorship.

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

Massage therapists see many people with neck and shoulder pain. In the U.S., a large proportion of people either work at a computer all day. A pain pattern I see commonly from those that place their keyboards far away from the edge of the desk and set papers in front of them on the desk before the keyboard. Then they lean far over the paper to type. This can result in tight and painful muscles in the middle of the back.

An easy and inexpensive fix for this is to buy a document holder and use it to stand your papers or books upright, at a slight angle so that you can see your documents and still have your keyboard closer to you as you type. I’ve provided a list of the best document stands I could find on Amazon below.

Jasmine Book Stand (Bookstand / Bookstands / Holder / Cookbook / Music)

$29.99 at Amazon click here.

Amazon reviewers say:

• This book stand is so amazing! As a graduate student, it has made all the difference in the world with my reading and research. It makes it much easier to take notes; it can accommodate quite thick books; it is very sturdy; and, it is a great size. My reading and note taking are happening with greater ease and speed. This is a wonderful product! C roberts

• I have degenerative disc disease in my cervical spine and I can hold my head in only one direction for longer than 5 minutes–straight ahead. I am a student and have a lot of reading to do. This bookstand has saved me a lot of pain and discomfort, allowing me to maintain good posture while I study. I highly recommend this product to anyone with neck pain.  j hunter

• I purchased this stand to hold thick textbooks, and it is exactly what I wanted. As an added benefit, I also use it to hold my computer tablet. Now I’m considering getting another one.  Sydney

• I’m a nursing student, and I got this stand because I was getting neck aches from studying so much. This stand put a prompt end to that! It is sturdy, easy to use, and it works well at my computer desk for my online class. I can easily set my book at a 45 degree angle to my computer screen and a bit to the side, and I can see the screen, the textbook, and have my binder open in front of my screen to follow along during a lecture. It is lightweight and stores fairly flat, too. I love it!  R H May

• I use this bookstand in front of my computer at work to hold file folders while I type letters and reports, etc. It’s excellent for this. Some of the files can be a little thick and heavy; this book stand holds up. It’s made much better than the one I had before that was made from plastic and had bent under the weight of the files over time. I don’t see that happening with this stand. I do wish the tray was slightly deeper to hold even thicker files (or books), but overall I’m very happy with it. In spite of its strength, it is very light weight, but a little bulky if you plan to carry it around with you a lot. I would definitely recommend this book stand to my family and friends.  SS

• This is a steal for $30. The best part is the smooth surface finish and the solid feel of the assembly. The main hinge assembly is made of black plastic, but it is very rigid and the screws are metal. Another great feature is that the stand folds up flat so that you can put it in a backpack or a large notebook bag. I went to the library today and whipped it out onto a desk. The clips that hold the pages in place are nice too: firm enough to keep the pages down but not too strong so as to be a nuisance when turning pages. I’m definitely recommending this to all my friends who are students or who are serious readers.  Mpay

Fellowes Kopy-Aid Black Letter Copyholder (11053)

$24.88 at Amazon, click here.

I like this stand because its affordable and because it’s metal, it is most likely easier to write on if you need to take notes.

Amazon reviewers say:

• Top of the line document holder. I use the Fellowes Kopy-Aid both at home and work. I’d be lost without it. I do accounting and bookkeeping entries and nothing beats the moveable magnetic line guide. I highly recommend the Fellowes Kopy-Aid. J. Ferrero “MontanaJoe”

• I purchased this after my plastic on broke for the second time. It is very stable and won’t be likely to break or turn over like the ones I have used previously. I like the way the magnetic line guide fits at the side. Easy to use on one sheet or 20 semi-rumpled sheets. Patricia Adcock

• This item was pretty sturdy and help avoid a stiff neck when copying something. It was delivered on time and in good condition. The price is right. Edgardo P. Yamsuan

Portabook Message Board and Multifunctional Book and Laptop Stand (Light Gray)

Price on Amazon $12.99 click here.

Amazon reviewers say:

• This is the 4th or 5th Portabook I’ve purchased. I recommend them to massage clients and give them to friends and family. The Portabook is lightweight and easy to pack into a backpack along with laptop. It holds books, papers and lap taps easily. A set of coated rubber bands holds large books or a laptop keyboard in place. Using the Portabook relieves neck and shoulder pain caused by looking down at papers and books. It can also be used to hold a laptop at an angle that is easier to viewing the screen. However, it’s best to plug-in an extended keyboard in this setup or you ave to type with your arms up to your shoulders!

We only broke one Portabook after 2 years of constant use. For such an inexpensive and lightweight product 2 years of use is pretty good. I highly recommend the Portabook if you want an easy way to hold books and papers at an angle while you read. Wellness Woman

Roberts 732310000 Book Holder

$35.25 at Amazon click here.

Fellowes Flex Arm Weighted Base Copyholder Platinum/Graphite

$26.23 at Amazon, click here.

I am leery of this stand but it does offer the flexibility of allowing you to position your document where its easiest for you to view. the down side is that the stand takes up a lot of room and that these types of arms tend to be flimsy and break often as noted by Amazon reviewers.

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

Hiking and biking is more fun with new friends!

Parents do have influence on their children. But peer pressure can be a big factor in how your children relate to their own health, diet and fitness needs. According to Russell Jago, Ph.D., in his research study,  Better with a Buddy: Influence of Best Friends on Children’s Physical Activity in the Feb. 2011 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, boys who have active friends spend more time participating in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity than those with inactive best friends. The study also found that girls who frequently engage in physical activity with their best friends have higher levels of physical activity. Boys and girls who take part in physical activity with their best friends, at home or in the neighborhood where they live, tend to have in higher levels of physical activity.

The Better with a Buddy study examined how the physical activity of self-identified best friends were associated with the physical activity of 10-to-11-year-old children in Bristol. Their research showed that girls played with their best friends in a physical activity five or more times per week ended up with nine more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day than those who were active with their best friend once a week or less. Girls who were played actively with their best friends at home or in their neighborhoods had six more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day than those who were only active with their best friends at school. At the same time, boys who were active with their best friend at home or in the neighborhood had 11 more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity than those who were just active with their best friends at school. The boys in the study averaged 42 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day. The girls averaged 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day, these analyses indicate that having best friends who are active and active outside of school can make significant contributions to children’s physical activity levels.

The study findings suggest that parents and schools should encourage children to take part in physical activity with their best friends.

Who is Russell Jago?

Russell Jago, Ph.D.

Russell Jago, Ph.D., a Reader in Exercise, Nutrition & Health in the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Bristol in the U.K. His research focuses on children’s physical activity and behavioral interventions to increase physical activity and prevent childhood obesity.

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

Recently, I had a reader post a questions about an earlier post I had written regarding massage and chiropractic issues in Illinois. While trying to answer her questions, I found out much more about the legislation that governs the use of unlicensed personnel to perform massage in chiropractic offices.  I thought it might be useful to others if I wrote it out in a post versus burying it in a comment, so read on…

In my mind, having a non massage therapist receptionist perform a massage, whether or not the chiropractor is in the same office, is unethical, even if it were legal in Illinois. However, there other stipulations that restrict the use of a receptionist and office manager from performing massage in a chiropractic office. And specifically, in Illinois, unlicensed people may not practice massage on new patients outside the office setting even if the chiropractor is present.

Let me give another example of how this law can be broken and how unlicensed, untrained people can be giving massages out in public. Last fall, I volunteered at a charity event performing massage with the understanding that my company would be the only massage providers at this event. I bought signs for our booth (which set me back quite a bit), contracted with a massage therapist to work the event with me (because I don’t expect other massage therapists to work for free to promote my business) and made it to the event to locate our booth. And what did I find? A chiropractor was setting up massage chairs in our booth and had a young lady in tow to help him give massages. I was uncomfortable with having people I don’t know giving massages under my company’s banner, but at that point the event had already started. So we welcomed the chiropractor and his staff person and got to know them better.

We had spoken to the chiropractor about our frustrations with the law regarding chiropractors hiring unlicensed people to perform massage.  I asked the young lady if she was a licensed massage therapist and she said “No.” My fellow massage therapist and I were shocked and concerned that she would be giving massages in our booth. The young lady said “Well, I’ve been in enough locker rooms and have seen people get massage to know what I am doing.” With that as her rationale for being able to provide massage, and the chiropractor mumbling something about his other massage therapist not being available that day, she started massaging people. Soon she was massaging children under 18 years old. Granted, the chiropractor was standing right next to her the entire time. But would you want your kids or loved ones to be given a massage by someone who’s main claim to her abilities was seeing other people get massages in a rehab room? I wouldn’t. Was the chiropractor violating the law? Yes. Was she? Yes, as well. And if she hurt someone or even gave them a bad massage, it was my name on the banner people would associate her with. I did not know then that they were not obeying the law. Now that I know I would have handled the situation differently.

So if you are hosting a charity event or getting a massage at such an event, make sure you ask if the massage therapist is licensed, especially if they are part of a chiropractor’s booth. I have to wonder too if a chiropractor is using unlicensed people illegally to give massages, could I trust him or her in other areas of my care?

I pasted the relevant text of the relevant law below. Note that although the text says physicians, chiropractors are included as physicians in this act. My clarifications are given in brackets.

(225 ILCS 60/54.2)
(Section scheduled to be repealed on November 30, 2011)
Sec. 54.2. Physician delegation of authority. [Which also includes chiropractors]
(a) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the delegation of patient care tasks or duties by a physician, to a licensed practical nurse, a registered professional nurse, or other licensed person practicing within the scope of his or her individual licensing Act. Delegation by a physician licensed to practice medicine in all its branches to physician assistants or advanced practice nurses is also addressed in Section 54.5 of this Act. No physician may delegate any patient care task or duty that is statutorily or by rule mandated to be performed by a physician.
(b) In an office or practice setting[so only in the office, not at health fairs or at charity events to market the practice] and within a physician‑patient relationship, [which means, within the context of an existing patient/physician relationship, not to market new clients] a physician may delegate patient care tasks or duties to an unlicensed person who possesses appropriate training and experience provided a health care professional [which in this case would either be training by the chiropractor OR licensed massage therapist], who is practicing within the scope of such licensed professional’s individual licensing Act, is on site to provide assistance [so the licensed massage therapist must be on site to provide assistance unless the chiropractor is trained to give massages].
(c) Any such patient care task or duty delegated to a licensed or unlicensed person must be within the scope of practice, education, training, or experience of the delegating physician and within the context of a physician‑patient relationship. [Again, the massage given must be within the scope of practice of the chiropractor/and or licensed massage therapist on site AND must be within an existing physician-patient relationships, not for marketing purposes or for new patients]
(d) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect referrals for professional services required by law.
(e) The Department shall have the authority to promulgate rules concerning a physician’s delegation, including but not limited to, the use of light emitting devices for patient care or treatment.
(Source: P.A. 96‑618, eff. 1‑1‑10.)

The link to the final law is here.

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