pain relief

What’s On The Menu – More Than Just The Freshmaker

How did mint become the go-to car air freshener scent? Was it good marketing? Did people like how that green leaf looked hanging from their rear view mirror?

It’s visual appeal could be a possible reason but I think it has more to do with how the scent affects our biology. A study performed in the early 2000s found that the smell of peppermint actually affected the amount of anxiety, fatigue and physical demand experienced by drivers on prolonged trips in the car. The study suggested that “periodic administration of (peppermint) odors over long-term driving may prove beneficial in maintaining alertness and decreasing highway accidents and fatalities” (source). Cognitive benefits are just the start to the positive health benefits of this refreshing herb.

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I constantly tell you about the high antioxidant content of certain fruits and vegetables, but I don’t seem to give as much recognition to herbs. Shame on me because mint, which is a broad term for 15-20 different species, contains one of the highest antioxidant capacity of any food. One particular antioxidant contained in mint, rosmarinic acid, has been shown to be an effective natural treatment for seasonal allergies. Also, if you already have the sniffles due to the common cold, menthol contained within mint plants has been long regarded as a natural decongestant because of its ability to break up phlegm and mucus (source).

The benefits of mint not only alleviate cold like symptoms, they can also help prevent you from getting a cold or some other type of infection. Peppermint oil has been shown to stop the growth of certain types of fungus and bacteria including the nasty MRSA. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, which can help improve the performance of our immune system (source). Speaking of performance, mint may be the PED all athletes can use without fear of getting busted.

I already mentioned one study that demonstrated how peppermint enhanced the performance of drivers, but can it do the same for athletes? A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine in 2013 discovered that individuals that ingested a minute amount of peppermint essential oil displayed improvements in exercise performance, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and several other related categories. The researchers believe that these improvements were due to the herb’s ability to relax bronchial smooth muscles, increase ventilation & brain oxygen concentrations and decrease blood lactate levels (source). That means that if you can run and chew gum at the same time, you may have a leg up on your competition.

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I always try to chew gum while working out, except for disciplines that require me to wear a mouthpiece (e.g. kickboxing, grappling, etc.). I’m sure it helps me concentrate but I use it mainly to prevent dry mouth. I use the crappy sugar-free stuff you get at the grocery store, which is peppermint flavored but I doubt has any real peppermint in it. Maybe I’ll perform a little experiment on yours truly to see if ingesting peppermint essential oil has a beneficial effect on my workout performance. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you like to incorporate mint into your diet. I enjoy throwing a handful of mint leaves into a tall glass of club soda with lime, essentially making a non-alcoholic mojito. Please feel free to share your minty fresh recipes with us on our social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter) or email them to elementaltampa@gmail.com.

You can also take advantage of the free fitness consultations I’m currently offering by emailing me.

Last but not least, we’d really appreciate it if you vote for Addicted to Fitness for the “best local podcast” in the Creative Loafing Best of the Bay contest. Click the following link to cast your vote. Thanks!

 

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Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Our Whole Body Cryotherapy Experience

Hope you are ready to chill with us on this episode as we get into a review and interview on cryotherapy.

Nick speaks with Jeff Houghtaling, who is the manager of the Tampa location of US Cryotherapy Tampa, a franchise based out of California. They discuss the difference between US Cryo’s whole body cryotherapy (WBC) and the partial body cryotherapy aka cryo-saunas (i.e. different cooling component, more thermoreceptors stimulate, breathing in cold air, etc. – more info).

They also chat about the WBC chamber, which a group of ETT clients bravely jump into later in the episode.

The benefits of cryotherapy are varied and attract a number of different types of clientele – from athletes to people looking to reduce wrinkles.

Because the therapy uses pretty extreme cold temperatures, there is quite a good deal of safety equipment and procedures include covered hands, feet, ears, nose and mouth, along with limited exposure times (3 minutes is the max for the full WBC chamber).

Nick shares his initial reaction on how much more intense the full chamber was than a cryo-sauna.

There’s more to the cryotherapy facilities than just the chamber, there’s a warm-up area and Jeff describes all the various equipment they have. While it’s not mandatory, there are some benefits that Jeff goes through why the equipment should be used.

The ETT team ventured into the unknown with a group therapy session and we interview everyone for their reactions after emerging from the frosty chamber, including frozen eyelashes (probably good to not wear mascara in the chamber).

These heat photos track the before and after from Nick and my trip into the WBC chamber.

Overall the whole crew’s experience was really positive and almost everyone walked out wanting to try it again in the future. Armed with a new appreciation for the cold, US Cryotherapy taught us all about our limitations and that we can all use a good chill from time to time.

Don’t forget to drop us a line between podcasts and keep the feedback coming either on Facebook or by leaving a review in the iTunes store.

Links for this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/our-first-whole-body-cryotherapy/id1121420986?i=1000379748600&mt=2

Android: http://subscribeonandroid.com/addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/rss

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/our-first-whole-body-cryotherapy-experience

Our First Cryotherapy Experience

If you’ve been a regular listener of the Addicted to Fitness podcast, you’ve heard me mention that I was going to take the podcast to my first cryotherapy session. Well the day has finally arrived! I hope most of you were curious enough to google cryotherapy if you weren’t familiar with it, but for those that didn’t, I’ll give you a short synopsis.

Cryotherapy was first used in Japan in the late 1970’s to help individuals with arthritis. Individuals would step into a open top chamber, like the one in the pic below, and be exposed to rapid, short-term freezing temperatures to drop the surface temperature of their skin. A short list of the benefits produced by this form of cold therapy include reduced muscle soreness and joint pain, reduction in pain sensitivity and a massive release of “feel good” endorphins (source). This episode goes into more details about the benefits of this innovative form of therapy, but if you’re still looking for more information, the cryotherapy center I used, Chill Therapy, has a ton of great information on their website and/or Instagram feed.

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I want to thank Brian from Chill Therapy for agreeing to let us podcast from his facility. I said it on the podcast but I’ll say it again, he runs a top-notch, state of the art facility and I can’t wait to go back. I truly enjoy trying out the newest health and fitness trends like this and I love taking you all along for the ride. If you have a suggestion on the next “hot thing” we should try on the podcast, please leave us a comment below. Also, if you have an extra second this week, please leave us a rating and review on iTunes. I hope you enjoy this episode and stay healthy this week folks!

Links to this week’s podcast

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/addicted-to-fitness-podcast/id1121420986?mt=2#episodeGuid=efc715e4012aa8ca06766c0418a7a2f0

Android: http://subscribeonandroid.com/addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/rss

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/our-first-cryotherapy-experience