Ask Chuck: What really is Glucosamine and Chondroitin?

We understand that you massage therapists study herbs, vitamins and vitamin supplements. Many of our friends are taking glucosamine and chondroitin, which several doctors recommend. Is this really that great of a benefit for our bodies?

Very much so. I can certainly vouch for this since my doctor recently recommended that I start a regimen of Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Let's break the two down and see how valuable they can be for us daily.

Glucosamine helps by strengthening, protecting and rebuilding joints. Chondroitin assists in lubricating and cushioning joints. These supplements are available in several brand names and can easily be purchased over the counter.

First of all, ask any physical therapist and he or she will tell you how important joint protection is for all of us, no matter what age - young or older. Many young athletes know how vital it is to have strong joints that will support any game they are engaged in. These supplements help keep the fluids healthy in our joints, whether bending, sitting, stretching, running or just simply walking.

The fluid that is so vital for joint conditioning is called synovial fluid. Try Googling it and see for yourself the importance it plays in our bodies. Have you ever wondered why all of a sudden your joints ache or seem to feel weaker, and you can't understand what maybe is going on?

Perhaps keeping our joints cushioned could be wise and vital to think about. When my daughter was young and wanted desperately to play basketball, her legs and knees began to ache quite often and made it difficult to play successfully.

The doctor examined her and said her knees were developing faster than her body could handle at one time. He said it would finally all balance out as she got older.

He added that many young boys and girls experience the same conditions. With her strong determination, she still managed to get involved and became the cutest, most valuable mascot the team ever had. You see, if things sometimes turn out to be lemons, you can make lemonade out of the results.

To find out more essential education about glucosamine and chondroitin, go to the computer and Wikipedia the names, and you will be quite amazed of the outcome of these vitamin supplements.

My doctor tells me my cholesterol count is increasing rapidly. Along with medication, would massage therapy help keep it under control?

Yes, definitely, and it would also be healthy for your heart. Thanks to magazines like To Your Health, we can become quite educated with these matters. This magazine recently stated with obesity on the rise in the U.S., it is no surprise that high cholesterol is a serious issue for many people and should not be taken lightly. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, there are five steps you can take to keep high cholesterol under control.

First, the center encourages that you work closely with your health provider and let them know what complementary health options you are considering. Be open for their valuable advise for these options also.

Secondly, be ready to change your diet program. Would you believe that diets with too much saturated and trans fats are the main cause for high blood cholesterol counts? A high level of saturated fats raises your LDL "bad cholesterol."

The third step is to really get serious losing weight. This alone has proven to raise your HDL "good cholesterol." This in turn lowers your LDL and puts you on the road to better health.

The forth step is to get busy moving with physical activities. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recommends walking at least 30 minutes each day. Not bad, right? Let's do it together and great results will become natural.

And for No. 5, choose your favorite massage therapist and maintain that goal for the best of health by getting regular treatments that simply will balance your metabolism because you have become serious of the knowledge of correct blood circulation. And guess what, you will look better, feel better and, I bet, last longer.

I have heard a number of times how massage therapy controls anxiety and nervous problems. Is this fact or fiction?

Definitely a fact. The simple reason massages are so important for our well being is that we finally stopped and did something for ourselves. Learn to be a taker and not just always a giver. So who is going to conquer this feat for you?

Ask any doctor now and he will positively endorse massage therapy treatments, especially if he is trying to work with your anxiety problems.

Life is going so fast we all seem to hurry up and wait for many things to be taken care of. How about thinking of yourself next, and I guarantee everything else will fall into place. Let it happen naturally.

Charles Colson is an area hair stylist and registered massage therapist. You may email hair or massage questions to crcolsonrmt1@sbcglobal.net or call 361-575-5331.