American Health Care Trends: Old, Fat and Lazy

The recent AMA Executive Summary “Health in the United States: Health Care Trends” contains both a little hope and a lot of gloom.

Population Trends

By 2050 the segment of the population over 65 will double from today to 83.7 million. This means that the prevalence of chronic illness will rise dramatically. Since 1990, smoking has decreased from 29.5% to 18.1% of the adult population. Probably as a result, stroke has declined 34%, heart disease 27%, and cancer 17%. This sounds good but…

Fat and Sluggish

Since 1990, the obesity rate in adults (defined as BMI over 30) has increased from 12% to 29.6%. During the same time diabetes increased from 4.4% to 10% of all adults. Not old adults, all adults. The CDC predicts that by 2050, thirty percent of adults will have diabetes. As a result, obesity is now the leading cause of heart attacks. Physical inactivity is a major reason. Only 21% of adults get the US Department of Health and Human Services recommended 150 minutes of exercise weekly. My observation is that most get no exercise. Many employers now offer wellness programs that give financial rewards for healthy behaviors. This could be a big step in the right direction. Of course, punitive actions denying health insurance to the morbidly obese or uncontrolled diabetics could also be coming, especially if the federal government leaves the health insurance business to private companies.

Is There a Doctor in the Zip Code?

The AMA reports that primary care doctors are closing their practices and either retiring early or moving to non-clinical areas like insurance, quality management, the pharmaceutical industry or even medical informatics. Since the demand for health services will increase dramatically, an increasing percentage of primary care will be provided by PAs and Nurse Practitioners. I expect they will have increasing independence. This is not necessarily a bad thing, many of these caregivers are excellent and offer compassionate and comprehensive care. A possible byproduct of this trend may be an increase in demand for referrals and subspecialty care, such as sending diabetics to endocrinologists and COPD patients to lung specialists.

Take Responsibility or Someone Else Will

A dystopian future looms where the cost of medical care is greater than our resources can manage. In this rather terrifying situation, someone will have to be denied services, probably either the powerless or those who refuse to adopt mandatory health guidelines. It hasn’t come to that yet. We still have time to make recommended changes in diet and activity. Remember, who could have predicted everyone would stop smoking?

Deep Tissue Massage Versus Swedish Massage – What’s the Difference?

When we go through the list of services offered at a spa, we often tend to imagine how each massage therapy might be like, before deciding on what we would like to avail. Often, we end up availing a random massage, because the name is very fascinating. In the end, after the massage, we conclude that all massages are the same. But in reality, every massage is different than the other and each massage has its own benefits.

Let’s know the difference between Swedish massage and Deep Tissue Massage.

Swedish massage is a type of massage that utilizes firm pressure on the muscles. It also involves a series of long gliding strokes. This massage uses various essential oils which have various aromatic benefits and these oils help reduce friction as well.

Swedish massage increases blood circulation in the muscles which eases the tension in the body and improves flexibility. It stimulates the skin and the nervous system, hence, soothing the nerves and reducing both physical, mental and emotional stress.

A Swedish massage involves the application of five strokes, namely:

1. Effleurage – Long flowing strokes that allow the therapist to spread the oils on the body and feel the muscle tone.

2. Petrissage – Kneading strokes that lifts and squeezes the tissues, flushing out the metabolic waste in that area.

3. Friction – A type of stroke that involves fast short movements creating heat in that area that brings blood flow to that area. This helps in loosening the ligaments.

4. Tapotement – This stroke is popularly known as ‘the karate chop move’, it involves a series of light blows to the body which helps in relaxing the muscles.

5. Vibration – This stroke creates movement in the entire body. When done properly, results are very relaxing.

Deep Tissue massage Is a type of massage that aims at targeting the deep tissue structure of the body muscles. This massage is concentrated mainly on the connective tissues.

Deep tissue massage helps in fast recovery of small muscle injuries and chronic problems. This massage is an excellent way to deal with sports injuries, postural misalignment, treating spasms and muscle tension. It also helps to release specific chronic muscle tension like the muscular knots and adhesions.

This massage involves a series of slow, specific, and deliberate strokes, which is best for postural deviances and abnormal muscle tone. The therapist here applies several different strokes depending on the type of the muscle that they are working on. During this massage, the muscles will slowly begin to loosen up, allowing the therapist to move along it.