Monday, March 26, 2018

The importance of touch.

The importance of touch.
I originally began studying massage because of its therapeutic value.
It means so much more. We are hardwired by evolution - the experience of touch is necessary for our emotional and physical well-being, down to our very immune system.
I believe that the hyper vigilance that has sprung up regarding touch, including casual social contact, is depriving us of this basic human interaction.
Strokes and hugs are being edged out of our lives, with doctors, teachers and colleagues increasingly hesitant about social touching. Is this hypervigilance of boundaries beginning to harm our mental health?
Illustration by Harriet Lee-Merrion
 Illustration by Harriet Lee-Merrion
hen did you last touch someone outside your family or intimate relationship? I don’t mean a brush of the fingers when you took your parcel from the delivery guy. I mean: when did you pat the arm or back of a stranger, colleague or friend? My own touch diary says that I have touched five people to whom I’m not related in the past seven days. One was a newborn and two were accidental (that was the delivery guy). Touch is the first sense humans develop in the womb, possessed even of 1.5cm embryos. But somewhere in adulthood what was instinctive to us as children has come to feel awkward, out of bounds.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Older Muscles - Protein Intake & Muscle Mass Maintenance in Older Adults

This is a subject near and dear to my heart - I find it incredibly annoying that, at the age of 56, laying off my usual active lifestyle for a few weeks, my muscles melt away.
Unfortunately, muscle mass and strength decrease with age, even in elite older athletes, a condition called sarcopenia,and the process does indeed speed up after age 50.

This sucks.

Now, exercise does indeed offer a protective effect - so, yes, three weeks without dancing, hiking, or massaging caused my muscles to practically wither away (well, I was busy, my son got married :-)).

Most of us know that you need protein to build - and maintain - muscle.
I did not know that after 50, the body apparently is less efficient at metabolizing protein--according to the papers linked to below, older people need more protein to build/ maintain muscle.

In addition, protein intake should be divided between meals in order to maximize effects - this is true in individuals of all ages.

I myself do not take supplements of any type, nor do I intend to; the interplay of nutrients in any food is complex, and is not understood--no matter WHAT the manufacturers of supplements and vitamins might tell you.

  • I intend to make sure I take in adequate protein during the day, and increase that slightly on days that I exercise.
  • I will space my protein over my meals, with a daily goal of 45 to 50 grams - appropriate for my size, weight and age.
    For example, my  usual breakfast: plain yogurt, fruit, a few nuts works out to be 12 grams of protein, my usual lunch of salad - arugula, olives, feta cheese, chick peas - works out to be about 25 grams. 
  • I will not go the 'high protein' route - this has not consistently been shown to be of benefit, and may be detrimental to kidney function.

Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia Protein, amino acid metabolism and therapy, 2009 full text article

Functional impact of high protein intake on healthy elderly people, 2008, full text

Moderating the portion size of a protein-rich meal improves anabolic efficiency in young and elderly,
2009 full text

Protein and Amino Acid Restriction, Aging and Disease: from yeast to humans, 2014, full text
Leucine supplementation chronically improves muscle protein synthesis in older adults consuming the RDA for protein, 2012, full text

Dietary protein and resistance training effects on muscle and body composition in older persons., 2007, abstract

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Allergies: pollen, OAS. contact dermatis--incredibly complex

Recently, I became aware that pollen allergies, most commonly to the pollen of specific varieties of tree and grass, coexist with OAS, Oral Allergy Syndrome. In OAS, a person will often develop itching or burning in the mouth and throat withing minutes of eating a particular food (although symptoms may be delayed). They can also react with histamine release in the digestive system - causing diarrhea and other GI symtoms.

OAS puts a person at risk for anaphylaxis.

Many years ago, when on of my children developed atopic dermatitis as an infant, and then asthma, I kept a detailed daily diary. I noted, for example, that if that child was sensitized, having asthmatic episodes, eating tomatoes would cause eczema. I became aware that allergy is very complex--and realized this is one of the reasons bullshit artists, healers, etc, have a field day with allergy sufferers.

It is the height of the allergy season here, olives are flowering, and as I listened to the sneezing of my loved ones, I remembered that they have also mentioned itching of the mouth and throat when eating melons and certain other fruit. So I started reading.

I am recording some of the articles I have read--good way to keep track!

Atopic Dermatis:

Allergies, hypersensitivties, allergy pathways---good information:

Cypress pollen/peach cross-reactivity--and conditional sensitization ( BP14) , once sensitized, one is more likely to become sensitive to similar allergens within the same protein family which are present in other allergen sources.


Not enough detail, but a good place to start:

from 1995, but worth saving:

Excellent, detailed

This regards eosinophilic esophagitis. Fascinating.


Mental health: Videos I recommend

What I watch. GREAT resource: For example: ...