Archive for June, 2011

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

One of the many things I am proud of is my Working Well Massage chair stations in Whole Foods Markets. I am proud of this business because it serves multiple needs for a variety of people. For one thing, it provides a means for people with limited time or funds to receive massage. For another, it allows potential table massage clients to try out different massage therapists before they commit to a one-hour table massage. And it allows people to experience muscular pain relief in as little as 5 minutes (although 15-20 minute massages can give you more results!).

Sue Shekut, Owner of Working Well Massage

I’ve been working in and managing chair massage stations for the past 9-10 years. In that time, my massage therapists and I have helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people relax, experience pain relief, learn about their own bodies and how to better care for their muscles. Selfishly, I myself have also received hundreds of chair massages at the Working Well Massage stations! I love the convenience because I don’t need to make an appointment. I love being able to shop for some good healthy grub and then plunk down in the massage chair, trusting that my team will take good care of me. Not because I manage them, but because they are highly trained and skilled massage therapists and they treat all WWM clients well.

Sine I am such a big fan of chair massage myself, I thought I’d list a few reasons why you might want to check chair out massage for yourself. And so that you don’t think I am entirely self-serving, I’ll offer this up: Get a chair massage somewhere,  whether you get it from a Working Well Massage station or through someone else. WWM has only two locations in Chicago for chair massage. For those of you in the suburbs or other areas of the country, many Whole Foods stores offer chair massages. but there are  other places to get chair massage as well. Shopping malls, salons, airports, all these places may offer chair massage. More and more, many workplaces are bringing in companies like Working Well Massage to offer chair massage to their employees. It’s a great motivator, boosts productivity and sure beats sending your people out to the doctor for a muscle spasm that might have been prevented if they had regular massage.

Chair massage:

• Is fast and easy-no need to take off your clothes or get oil on you!

• Can release muscle tension in your neck and shoulders, upper and lower back. Sitting in a massage chair angles your upper body in  way that is optimal for the massage therapist to address your neck and shoulder without a massage table in the way.

• Tends to cost less than table massage. I can buy four 20-minute chair massages a month for the same price as one 1-hour table massage. So I get more attention to the areas that are sore more often.

• Allows you to sample a massage therapist’s work without a big time or money commitment.

• Provide work for massage therapists and chance to meet new clients.

• Can help relieve headache pain causes by tight muscles.

• Can help reduce muscle pain causes by overuse or repetitive motion activities (ahem, computer users work their upper backs and neck muscles all day).

• And lastly, it just feels good! I always feel better after a chair massage. The world seems brighter, my mode is lighter and I feel refreshed and relaxed and ready to face the next round of emailing and smart phoning!

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

Are the medications you are taking contributing to premature bone loss? And if so, what can you do about it? This past week I attended a class on Functional Strength Training for the Aging Spine taught by Shari Kalstein, a physical therapist and personal trainer. )Shari created a class, Fortify Your Frame for older adults and now teaches it to seniors in her practice in Florida The class I attended was modified for personal trainers and physical therapists to teach older adults how to safely exercise.). Her class was a very useful and informative class. She presented a LOT of material about bone density, the aging spine and exercises to help people strengthen their backs and cores as they age. Since we all age at one point, it was useful info for people of all ages.

Long Bone. Image from Wikipedia

A few of the points Shari made were that:

1. Many people are vitamin D deficient, even in sunny Florida and don’t even know it.

2. Men can have osteoporosis and are not regularly tested until at least age 70, long after preventative measures could have been taken. Important facts for men about bone loss here.

3. Many medications as well as soda pop consumption lead to bone density loss.

I was surprised to see so many common medications listed as contributors to bone loss. I thought I’d share them with you as well as the link to the Osteoporosis Association website here.

Medications That Can Contribute to Bone Loss

Below is a list of medicines that may cause bone loss.

  • Aluminum-containing antacids
  • Antiseizure medicines (only some) such as Dilantin® or Phenobarbital
  • Aromatase inhibitors such as Arimidex®, Aromasin® and Femara®
  • Cancer chemotherapeutic drugs
  • Cyclosporine A and FK506 (Tacrolimus)
  • Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) such as Lupron® and Zoladex®
  • Heparin
  • Lithium
  • Medroxyprogesterone acetate for contraception (Depo-Provera®)
  • Methotrexate
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium®, Prevacid® and Prilosec®
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Lexapro®, Prozac® and Zoloft®
  • Steroids (glucocorticoids) such as cortisone and prednisone
  • Tamoxifen® (premenopausal use)
  • Thiazolidinediones such as Actos® and Avandia®
  • Thyroid hormones in excess

Preventing/Counteracting Bone Loss

• Make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D. If you are not sure, get blood work from your doctor and make sure he/she specifically checks your calcium and vitamin D levels. Even if you are ingesting food high in calcium, you may not be properly absorbing it. Supplementation may be required.

• You need regular weight-bearing exercise to keep your bones healthy and strong. Walking is a great weight-bearing exercise you can do well into old age. And not on a treadmill–outdoors is best.

• Eat fruits and vegetables.

• Reduce your alcohol intake

• Quit Smoking

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Recently I received an email from William Hopper at HealthTechTopia . He called my attention to one of their posts, “25 Online Health Informatics Resource Collections” in which they list 25 online health informatics resource collections  that provide useful sites filled with statistics and data, articles and projects about health. The post lists 10 sites for health care statistics, 7 sites which provide  tools and resources and 8 useful website links such as  World Health Organization and Center for Public Health Informatics.

If you want stats or biometrics, check out their post, 25 Blogs on Biometrics. If you are looking for a experts in health care field, check out 17 Informatics Experts Worth Listening To.
If you simply want to learn more about your own health, you may want to check out their post on  33 Essential Tips to Take Control of Your Medical Records,
25 Free & Freemium Web Apps to Track Your Body’s Statistics, and
The Definitive Guide to CDC.gov: 10 Resources Everyone Should Bookmark.

For Biometric info from the US Government check out this site, Biometrics.gov

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

For those that want to make a difference in the wellness of their community, there is call for proposals for the Healthy People 2020 Community Innovations Project. This project, is administered by John Snow, Inc. (JSI) as part of a contract it has with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP). The project will fund non-profit, community-based organizations with budgets less than $750,000 to implement projects that address Healthy People 2020 overarching goals, topic areas and objectives and integrate at least one of the following Healthy People 2020 Community Innovation Project priorities: environmental justice, health equity, and healthy behaviors across all life stages. As many as 170 projects will be given between $5,000 to $10,000 to conduct projects between December 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012. For more info on Healthy People, click here.

The Mission of Healthy People 2020 (from their website)

Healthy People 2020 strives to:

  • Identify nationwide health improvement priorities.
  • Increase public awareness and understanding of the determinants of health, disease, and disability and the opportunities for progress.
  • Provide measurable objectives and goals that are applicable at the national, State, and local levels.
  • Engage multiple sectors to take actions to strengthen policies and improve practices that are driven by the best available evidence and knowledge.
  • Identify critical research, evaluation, and data collection needs.

Overarching Goals of Healthy People 2020

  • Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.
  • Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.
  • Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all.
  • Promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.

The deadline for submitting an application in response to this Request for Proposal (RFP) is Friday, August 5, 2011. More details are included in the  Healthy People 2020 RFP which is available online at http://www.healthypeople.gov.

A Bidders Conference will be held on Monday, June 27, 2011.  During this one hour conference call and webinar, JSI and ODPHP will describe the Healthy People 2020 initiative, review the Healthy People 2020 Community Innovations Project Request for Proposal (RFP), and address any questions that bidders may have.

One-Hour Conference Call and Webinar Time Table

Eligible applicants in Eastern and Central time zones:

12:00 p.m. EDT/11:00 a.m. CDT

Please follow this link to register:  https://jsi.webex.com/jsi/j.php?ED=149637867&RG=1&UID=0&RT=MiMxMQ%3D%3D

Dial: 1.877.223.6135; Conference I.D.: 628.55.112

Eligible applicants in Mountain and Pacific time zones:

12:00 p.m. MDT/11:00 a.m. PDT

Please follow this link to register:  https://jsi.webex.com/jsi/j.php?ED=150472232&RG=1&UID=0&RT=MiM2

Dial: 1.877.223.6135; Conference I.D.: 705.32.378

Eligible applicants in Hawaii-Aleutian and Alaska time zones:

10:00 a.m. HAST/12:00 p.m. AKDT

Please follow this link to register:  https://jsi.webex.com/jsi/j.php?ED=150472417&RG=1&UID=0&RT=MiM2

Dial: 1.877.223.6135; Conference I.D.: 705.32.501

During this one hour conference call and webinar, JSI and ODPHP will describe the Healthy People 2020 initiative, review the Healthy People 2020 Community Innovations Project Request for Proposal (RFP), and address any questions that bidders may have.

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

Costa Rica or Kentucky? Kentucky!

Last year, my boyfriend and I ventured down to Kentucky for a long weekend get away. And what we found surprised and delighted us. Rough River Lake, Nolan Lake and Mammoth Cave are great spots for hiking, swimming and boating. Swimming in Rough River Lake, we felt like we were in Costa Rica.  The great thing about a Kentucky vacation for Chicago area dwellers is that getting there is only 6 hours drive from Chicago to Rough River Lake. Door County, WI is just as far but Lake Michigan is cold and prices for boat rental, lodging, and food are about double in WI as compared to prices in Kentucky. Kentucky is warmer in general.  Check out the photos from our last trip and decide for yourself if Kentucky should be on your “must visit” list. We know we’ll be back!

Tranquail island in Rough River Lake, KY

What about wild life? We saw many deer and they saw us!

Kentucky deer look a lot like Illinois deer

Pontoon boats are easy to navigate in Rough River Lake

See an island you like? Pull up your boat and stay a while!

We made a wrong turn and ended up heading for an uber narrow canal!

Beautiful, peaceful and warm clean water in abundance!

Tiny "islands" abound in manmade Rough River Lake

For info on Rough River Lake, click here.

For inf on Nolan Lake, click here.

For info on Mammoth Cave, click here.

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

Recently I was asked about self-defense classes in Chicago and if I knew of any classes that led to further study in martial arts. I took Karate in High school but it’s been years since I took any martial arts, so I decided to do some research and see what I could dig up.

A Thousand waves Self Defense Classes

First off there is a fantastic post by Jesse Ouimet, “Top eleven – best self-defence martial arts” on his blog, These Go to Eleven. Click here for the full post. I found it interesting that in some of the comments, people said that what is considered “best” for Mixed Martial Arts self-defense and what is the best style for a woman trying to fend off a male attacker twice her size varies greatly. Commenters agreed that Israili Krav Maga and Karate were likely best for females looking to fend off attackers, while MMA fighters liked fighting styles that had more grappling and floor moves (since MMA fights usually end up on the ground). But a small woman would not fare as well if they fight went to the ground. Makes sense to me.

As a form of exercise, most martial arts can be excellent in providing cardio and strength training. At the same time, one reason I don’t practice martial arts is that there can be a lot of joint wear and tear. Hey, I like my joints! I want them to work for me as I get older, and as a massage therapist, I am very protective of my hands and wrists. So punching and sparring subjects my wrists and hands to too much abuse. (And yes I know that if my form was perfect I’d have less joint concerns. Yet who has perfect form when you are learning a new skill?

Mark MacYoung

Marc “Animal;” MacYoung’s No Nonsense Self Defense serves up some witty, funny and fitful food for thought about the difference between martial arts and fighting. To this writer, all types of martial arts are good for self-defense. He explains quite a bit about how to look at self-defense, what it is and the motivation behind it. It’s a good read. Click here for No Nonsense Self Defense. This is a great site for info on martial arts  in general, street fighting, and self-defense.

In Chicago, there are a number of different Martial Arts studios and styles taught. Link to Yelp listing here. Some of the more self-defense oriented classes are listed below.

Krav Maga Illinois
2200 Skokie Valley Rd
Highland Park, IL 60035
(847) 433-0405

POW! Mixed Martial Arts School

950 W Washington Blvd
(between Peoria St & Sangamon St)
Chicago, IL 60607
Neighborhoods: Near West Side, West Loop
(312) 829-7699

Offers Krav maga boxing, Muay Thai, and Jujitsu.

A Thousand Waves for Women has a self defense course AND offers ongoing classes in Seido Karate to men and women as well as children.

Thousand Waves Martial Arts & Self-Defense Center, NFP
1220 W Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
Neighborhood: Lakeview
(773) 472-7663

Self Defense Centers
2151 W Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60618
Neighborhood: North Center
(773) 539-2900

Hours: Mon-Thu 9 am – 9 pm , Fri 9 am – 8 pm, Sat 9 am – 4 am

Yelpers say:  It’s practical, hands-on self-defense training that’s based on Kenpo, a type of martial art.  Not only do SDC offer very affordable private lessons and packages, but this includes UNLIMITED group classes Mon-Sat.

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

I was looking up calorie and nutrition information and came across a great resource for both…from Self magazine. Self’s Nutrition Data is fairly inclusive. They provide excellent nutritional data as found on nutrition labels (calories, fat, fiber, sugar, carbs and vitamin content).

Self Nutrition Data also provides (from their website):

• A Nutritional Target Map™ (patent pending) which tells you how nutritious (nutrient-dense) and filling (calorie-dense) a food is based on two measurements, The Fullness Factor™ (FF) which rates foods on a 0 to 5 scale that predicts the satiating effect of the food and The ND (Nutrition Data) Rating which scores foods on a 0 to 5 scale based on the FDA recommendations for a healthy diet.

• Nutrition Data’s Opinion which awards foods 0 to 5 stars in each of three categories, based on their nutrient density (ND Rating) and their satiating effect (Fullness Factor™).
Caloric Ratio Pyramid™–This graphic indicates the percentage of the food’s calories that are derived from the three main macronutrients—carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Estimated Glycemic Load™–Nutrition Data estimates the Glycemic Load of foods and recipes using a proprietary eGL formula.

• IF (Inflammation Factor) Rating™–Nutrition Data estimates the inflammatory or anti-inflammatory potential of individual or combinations of foods using a proprietary formula developed by Monica Reinagel. Foods with positive IF Ratings™ are considered anti-inflammatory and those with negative IF Ratings™ inflammatory.

The Nutrient Balance Indicator™ lets you see at a glance the nutritional strengths and weaknesses of a food, and can help you construct meals that are more nutritionally balanced.

Protean Quality–Each spoke on the Protein Quality Indicator™ represents one of the nine essential amino acids. The size of each spoke is proportionate to the percentage of the optimal level for that amino acid.

For an example of how a nutritional page for a food item looks, click here for info on the nutritional content of Part-Skim Milk Mozerella cheese.

Here is a list of all the other Nutritional data provided on the Self site:

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