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To achieve optimum wellness, and live a long and healthy life, it can be helpful to imagine that we, our body/mind/spirit, are simultaneously a science experiment and the scientist. Our goal as the scientist is to keep our science project running properly for as long as possible. As a scientist, we would determine what optimum functioning is and what would be necessary to achieve that. We would also determine if there were any factors limiting or impeding optimum functioning, and work to eliminate those.  So in the case of our body, optimum functioning of all ten major systems of the body means that everything is working properly without medication and with no significant pain present. Factors that could impede our proper functioning include accumulated toxins, slow moving elimination, parasites, bacteria, viruses, pollution, radiation, drugs, tobacco, alcohol, poor/inadequate nutrition, etc. Just as we want to eliminate what is holding us back from good health, we want to provide the body with what it needs in the form of high quality food and nutrients, exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. It may be common knowledge that good nutrition is the basis of good health, but many people are less than successful implementing that knowledge in their daily lives. Many people take vitamins in an attempt to supplement their diet. While this is an understandable approach, we can do better. Vitamin companies try to take the nourishing and healing components of various plants and put them into a pill or drink. If they are even assimilated into the body, they may provide some nutrition, and are clearly better than being malnourished, but they are not as powerful or as easy to assimilate as the real food that they were created from.

As one of the worlds’ most famous physicians once said:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine (460-377 B.C.)

The best way to get the requisite phytonutrients, minerals, and enzymes that our body needs every day is to eat whole, raw food. Because of our busy lives, this is sometimes easier said than done. One method that I use personally, and that I encourage my patients’ to take is to bridge the gap between good intentions and daily reality by taking whole food nutritional products from Juice Plus in addition to my regular diet.

Juice Plus has the most researched brand name nutritional products in the world. There are more than 25 published clinical studies that confirm the healthful benefits of Juice Plus. There are over 26 universities world wide that are involved in researching their products. These products are whole food, not vitamins.

To find out more about how you can improve your health, and help prevent chronic disease, contact Dr. Jeff to arrange a health and wellness presentation to your family and/or colleagues. You can also learn more by going to:  www.JeffMcConnell.JuicePlus.com

In addition to nutrition and elimination, another part of the health equation to keep our science experiment (the body) running optimally is to exercise it. Those of you who have attended my Flexibility seminars know that the triad needed for optimum fitness is: strength, flexibility, and endurance or cardio. Those of you who have taken either the Shiatsu or Reiki seminars know that we have an energy body that has vortexes of energy called Chakras, and pathways for Qi (Chi) to flow called meridians. Ideally our exercise programs would train both our energy body and our physical body. Many people are familiar with many methods to train the physical body such as weight training, martial arts, running, yoga, etc. Less familiar to people may be the ways that we can train the energy body such as meditation, Qi Gong, Reiki, or Shiatsu to name a few.

It has been my good fortune to have had many inspiring and knowledgeable martial arts, yoga, and Qi Gong teachers since starting on the path in high school. One of my goals is to inspire others as I was, and to teach some of what I have learned on the path of self-discovery. Currently, my most effective method of doing that is by teaching my continuing education seminars. While the courses were designed for healthcare workers such as nurses and massage therapists, I have now expanded my teaching to include the general public.
The first class I’m offering is a three hour couples massage class.
(To learn more click here:  http://handsforhealing.com/couples-massage/)

It is my personal and professional opinion that the average person is uniformed and/or unmotivated enough to properly care for their body. They instead rely on “experts” to explain to them what is “wrong” with them and to provide them with the magic chemical bullet that will “fix” them. This is not to discount the value of professional help, but instead to encourage the individual to be an active participant in their own health.

Another way that we can make a significant impact on our health, is by seeking out trained health practitioners to receive therapy on a regular basis, and not just when we reach crisis mode. Although acupuncture, Reiki, assisted stretching, and Shiatsu, each have a different approach or method, they each can be used to correct imbalances, to relieve pain in the body, lower anxiety and stress, or to enhance athletic performance. These modalities can supplement the efforts made by the patient to improve their health. Rather than promoting a dependency on the therapist to provide relief, we can stress the team approach of the therapist augmenting and supporting the effort of the patient.

Assistance in Achieving Fitness and Performance Goals

Many people train hard to achieve better health and fitness, while others want to increase their strength, speed, and flexibility so as to excel in competitive sports or to reach and then exceed their previous best performance in whatever physical challenge that they enjoy. The most important factor would seem to be the will and effort needed to transform the body. A sometimes overlooked factor is getting professional assistance from someone who can help their body to more effectively handle the stresses placed upon it as part of the training process.

One such person is Dr. Jeff McConnell, who is a Board Certified acupuncture physician (AP2231), who also has 25 years of experience as a licensed massage therapist (MA9200), who specialized in sports massage. Dr. Jeff is now working out of Urban Escape Massage and Wellness, Inc. in Tampa as well as a clinic in St. Petersburg. During his many years of providing massage therapy, he would use a combination of techniques such as neuromuscular trigger point work, as well as active-assisted stretches to help the athlete to achieve a more pain free and fluid motion that would allow them to perform at peak levels. Upon beginning his acupuncture career at the start of 2006, Dr. Jeff devoted a portion of his practice to using Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture as an additional set of tools to help patient/athletes to achieve higher levels of athletic performance.

A brief look at the two main approaches that Dr. Jeff uses to get the results that his patients seek would be helpful.

From a physical perspective we are mainly dealing with nutrition and the biomechanics of efficient movement. Not only do we need to feed the body the optimum diet to adequately fuel the muscles, but we need to make sure that the body efficiently absorbs these nutrients. Acupuncture can be used to assist the digestive system of the body to boost metabolism and break down the food more efficiently so that the cells can utilize it.  As important as digestion is, elimination is equally so.  Acupuncture can assist the body to more effectively eliminate waste products and toxins. This is useful both to those whose health goals are weight loss, and to the athlete who can have a shorter turn-around time between competitions by speeding up the removal of lactic acid and other metabolic wastes from the muscles that are a well-known source of muscle soreness after strong muscular effort.

Biomechanics is a way of looking at how we use muscles and joints to create leverage to produce movement. When a muscle will not fully lengthen it will limit the range of motion that the joint that it operates can move through. This will in turn limit the amount of leverage and thus speed and power that can be generated through it. This will not only limit athletic performance, but it will also increase the risk of injury to the muscles as the athlete attempts to move at high speeds. This problem can be resolved in a number of ways. First, trigger-points or muscles spasms can form in the muscle from trauma or vigorous athletic action. This will reduce the muscles’ ability to fully lengthen. Both neuromuscular massage techniques as well as acupuncture can be used to release the trigger-point and relax the muscle. Active-isolated assisted stretches can be used to safely lengthen the muscle and the fascia or connective tissue encasing it, to allow the joint that that muscle operates to move through its’ full range of motion. This provides for greater leverage to be produced, thus increasing the available speed and power that one can generate. An additional benefit is that the athletes’ movement will be more fluid and efficient, thus improving both agility and endurance. Using a different approach, acupuncture is able to not only relieve muscle spasms, but it also will improve the flow of energy flowing to the muscles. Just as we need an unimpeded flow of blood circulation, or nerve conduction for muscles and organs to properly function, so too do we need an unimpeded flow of Qi (chi) or energy flowing through the pathways, known as meridians, which like an auxiliary nervous system connecting to everything in the body. Having a strong balanced flow of energy to all parts of the body is the goal of everyone seeking optimum health, and for the athlete, it gives them that additional edge of having their muscles supplied with an abundance of energy which they can utilize to push their body to ever greater levels of athletic performance.

And finally, there is the mental aspect. We know from studying sports that the difference between elite Olympic athletes’ performance is usually measured in hundredths of a second or fractions of an inch. What is often the largest deciding factor is the mental focus of the athlete. When one’s “in the zone”, movement is effortless, and everything seems to slows down and become more clear. Many athletes are tempted to use banned substances such as Adderall to increase their focus. Acupuncture can be used to calm the mind and increase mental clarity by opening up the flow of energy to the brain. While you may not be invited to join MENSA, you will likely experience a more calm and focused mind.

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