Lifestyle changes, as well as chiropractic and massage, can improve cholesterol and overall health.
Physical inactivity is dangerous. It is linked to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, some cancers, obesity, and more issues.1 Prolonged sitting, in particular, carries many risks. Those who sit for hours at a time, whether during leisure or for work, are more likely to have higher cholesterol, a larger waistline, and metabolic disease. In addition, the slack muscles from sitting “do not contract to effectively pump blood to the heart”. If blood pools in the legs, this can affect the arteries. In fact, researchers found that blood flow to the legs could be “impaired by as much as 50% after just one hour” of sitting. Considering that “American adults sit for…eight hours a day”, this is a significant finding. Researchers also discovered that walking could reverse some of these effects. A recent study showed that “three easy…5 minute walks can reverse harm caused to leg arteries (from) three hours of…sitting”.2
Dietary and lifestyle changes have been long prescribed, along with medications, to reduce cholesterol levels. Cholesterol, especially the levels of Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL), has been considered a risk factor in cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) may carry side effects for patients. Statins do help to decrease the LDL and increase the HDL levels; “however, overall mortality is not reduced”. Some patients may opt for non-drug solutions to lowering their cholesterol levels.3
Chiropractic and Massage
In a case study, a middle-aged woman was treated for carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, vertebral subluxations, neck pain, and “dyslipidemia”. After six months of chiropractic adjustments, her cholesterol improved to a normal overall level, her HDL increased, and her triglycerides were also reduced. It is thought that the chiropractic care “reduces subluxations and stress on the spinal column and nervous system”.4 There are many ways to reduce cholesterol besides medication. Weight loss, quitting smoking, exercise, and diet are all important. In addition to chiropractic care, massage may also offer options for cholesterol reduction. Japanese researchers studied patients who received Anma massage. They were studying the effects on the immune system, anxiety, and cholesterol.5 Anma massage is similar to the techniques used in Swedish massage, but Anma performs the massage strokes away from the heart, while Swedish strokes go towards the heart. Also, Anma massage is performed fully clothed, without the oils or lotions used in Swedish massage.6 Participants in this Japanese study had “lower total cholesterol” and “significant improvement in all areas”. It is thought that massage could relax the autonomic nervous system, reducing stress. Stress releases cholesterol into the blood, therefore stress reduction, through massage, could “end this fight or flight response”.7
Find out more about the health benefits of walking.