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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

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The connection between mind, body, posture, and stress

Image: Alexander Jawfox/Unsplash

If you’ve ever endured a nerve-racking situation followed by a throbbing noggin, it wouldn’t seem far-fetched to connect one with the other. Nearly one in four adults reports experiencing multiple headaches every year in the United States. The World Health Organization estimates 50% of all adults have at least one headache annually. Though there are over 150 types of headaches, tension headaches are the most common and often triggered by stress. Yet while doctors might agree the two can be linked, they still don’t understand exactly how.

Brian Cole, MD, an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush…


THE NUANCE

Why this time of year can trigger feelings of pleasure, pain, or a bit of both

Illustration: Kieran Blakey for Elemental

Spring is a season of rebirth and renewal. Flowers sprout, leaves bud, and the natural world wakes up from its long winter hibernation. Likewise, a lot of people feel rejuvenated as the days grow longer, sunnier, and warmer.

But for some, the transition from winter to spring can be a rocky one. …


Monday Move

Don’t @ me

Sometimes, you just need to go ahead and do the sucky thing: Tell people the news they don’t want to hear. Make the tough decision. Put that beloved toy that sings the creepy song out on the sidewalk while your toddler is napping.

Blast the death metal and do the goddamn burpees.

Hear me out: Yes, burpees suck, but if you’re physically able to do them (and willing to get sweaty and exhausted), they are also… the best. When you get into a rhythm of slamming yourself down on the floor and getting right back TF up again, the intensity…


A physician traces the impact of spirituality in patient outcomes

Photo: Diana Simumpande/Unsplash

On the last day of January, my Twitter feed lit up with a curious and heartfelt call: “Please. Please. Please. Everyone PRAY for my daughter Molly. She has been in an accident and suffered a brain trauma. She’s unconscious in the ICU. Please RT and PRAY.”

The tweet came from a woman named Kaye, a lawyer and mother of three in Los Angeles. Her daughter Molly was in a pediatric intensive care unit after suffering a brain injury. I, along with thousands of others, heeded her call, sharing a private prayer that Molly would recover. Soon Kaye began tweeting live…


Monday Move

Is your butt dead? This move will bring it back to life.

I once worked out with a running coach who said that a huge chunk (scientific, I know!) of running injuries could be attributed to “dead butt” syndrome. It’s a real thing, and a diagnosis many runners have heard from sports medicine doctors and physical therapists. Here’s what happens: For those of us who spend much of our day seated, our gluteus medius muscles weaken. Over time they sort of “forget” how to switch on, which they need to do in order to keep our pelvis stable and our spine in proper alignment. For runners especially, this imbalance can force other…


Monday Move

No time for a whole yoga session? Give this a shot instead.

Animation by Alexandre Luu for Elemental

I am tense right now. There’s a lot going on, the stakes feel high, and the only way out is through — but what that journey looks like IRL is me, sitting in front of my computer almost all day (I do take occasional standing or balance-board breaks!), with my head slowly but surely making its way toward my keyboard as I get more and more exhausted and overwhelmed.

Getting my heart rate up when I can is helping with the general vibe, but my upper back and neck still feel like they’re on the brink of disaster most of…


A closer look at copper, cryotherapy, compression, and float tanks

Photo: jacoblund/Getty Images

Every year, it seems, something new comes along promising to decrease our pain and stress while improving mood and sleep. Almost as quickly as these magical fixes arrive on the scene, many of them disappear — either because they lose their novelty and notoriety, or because they are displaced by the next great hope.

From copper bracelets to spinal braces, oxygen bars to cryo spas, soak tanks to you name it, there is no shortage of “wellness products” that enter with a splash and exit with a whimper, promising to make quick work of complicated problems. …


Both beverages, especially in large amounts, are linked to better health and longer life

Photo: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

New research adds a cup or two of good news to a pot of mounting evidence indicating that both coffee and tea — and apparently lots of it — can help people live longer, healthier lives. There’s just one catch: The evidence suggests you’ll want to eat well and exercise, too. Caffeinated drinks won’t make up for copious doughnuts and couch time.

In several past studies, coffee consumption has been linked to a lower risk for type 2 diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. A study last month tied consumption of several daily cups of coffee to a…


Gut health could be an important piece in the Covid-19 puzzle

Illustration: Saiman Chow for Elemental

It’s a mystery that has puzzled the world’s virologists.

The United States and Western Europe — home to many of the planet’s best doctors and hospitals and the most robust public health infrastructures — have been among the regions hit hardest by the novel coronavirus.

Some have speculated that climate, population demographics, government response (or lack thereof), and other factors can explain the high numbers of infections in the developed world. And there is probably some truth to each of these hypotheses. …

Elemental

Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

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