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March 27, 1998     Cape Gazette
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March 27, 1998
 

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40 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 27 - April 2, 1998 HEALq'H & FITNESS Warriors for Life learn about AIDS fac00.'-to-face By Rosanne Pack The language was sometimes blunt, the facts were not always encouraging and some of the speakers are looking death in the face. This was not Saturday morning cartoons for 254 young people who recent- ly attended Warriors for Life II Summit. Depending on their age, they heard facts about living with HIV/AIDS, ways that the infection is spread and means and behav- iors for preventing the virus. The message was, first and foremost, that abstinance from sexual intercourse is the only 100 per- cent sure way of avoiding HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). That was stressed by speaker after speaker, but with an acceptance of reality, informa- tion on practicing safer sexual habits was also presented. The dangers of practicing unprotected sex and sharing needles when using drugs were discussed. Specifics regarding exactly how HIV/AIDS can be transmitted and the best kind of condoms to use were intro- duced in informative sessions. Topics that might have elicited smirks and giggles were greeted with intensity and curiosity, as youngsters listened and questioned work- shop leaders. Hosted by First State Community Action Agency Inc., the summit was sponsored by the Delaware Department of Health and So- cial Services, Division of Public Health. A major component of the prevention sum- mits, scheduled for 10- to 18-year-old youngsters, is the delivery of information on HIV/AIDS, and almost all of those who attended participated in workshops that dealt with statistics, methods of infection, prevention and self-esteem building. Most of the young people who gave up a Saturday to sit through workshops came from areas that participate in the Strong Communities Initiative. The number grew from 70 who participated in October, to 254 who attended the March summit; the recent event drew young people from Dover and the seven southern Delaware Strong Com- munities. The southern Delaware areas rep- resented were West Rehoboth's West Side New Beginnings, Coverdale Crossroads, Enchanted Meadows, New Hope, Twin Cedars, Pepper Ridge and Shockley Town. Ray Collins said it is very encouraging that more than half of those who attended the first summit in October came back for the second event. Collins, a community or- ganizer with Children & Families First Kent Sussex AIDS Program (KSAP), was responsible for organizing the HIV/AIDS- related workshops. He said that those who attended the October summit reported that they were questioned by young people who Rosanne Pack photo Poised to answer with a question, Ebony Ca]dwell, left, and Rasheida Drayton, both of Dover, are caught up in the learning game of "HIV/AIDS Jeopardy," at a recent Warriors for Life II Summit. did not attend. "The other kids wanted to know what was covered, and when would there be an- Continued on page 42 Acupuncture proven fers acupuncture and herbal medicine to sue- cessfully complement conventional medical treatment. "To appreciate the ef- fectiveness of these an- cient Oriental medical techniques, it is impor- tant to understand the un- derlying principles in- volved," said Warren. tool in integrative medical treatm{.'nt stratel ,,g along pathways known as meridians, which Warren. "Many people seek treatment for were charted thousands of years ago," said stress relief or to obtain balance. The list is Warren. People get sick when their life as varied as the patients we see." forces are knocked out of balance from He said more than 70 medical condition stress, illness or trauma; the job of the codes were treated last year. "In many cas- acupuncture and herbal formulas is to es, patients are referred by their medical nudge the ch'i back into equilibrium, doctor, because they were not achieving An increasing number of people in the Delmarva area are turning to alternative medicine. Beebe Medical Center, for ex- ample, recently opened a new department at the hospital that integrates alternative with conventional medicine. The nationwide trend began accelerating five years ago; last year, an estimated one in three Americans reported using alterna- tive therapies to treat a serious medical problem, said Max Warren, a licensed acupuncturist, co-owner of the clinic and now practicing in Beebe Medical Center's Department of Integrative Medicine. Warren, whose primary practice is at Acupuncture Clinic of Salisbury, said his clinic is riding the crest of this trend and of- Common questions: What are the common problems that can be treated with acupuncture? Warren regularly treats arthritis, sinusitis, shingles, carpal tunnel syndrome, mi- graines and gynecological disorders. "The most common treatments are pain-related, such as low back pain; knee pain; tennis el- bow; and hip, foot and shoulder pain," said WARREN He described acupuncture as a system of medicine based on the belief that two life forces - yin and yang - combine to produce a vital energy, called "ch'i," or "qi." "That energy flows through the body satisfactory results with conventional med- ical treatments or are concerned that the drugs may have bad side effects," said Warren. "Or in the case of pain medica- tion, many feared addiction to the medica- tion." How long is a course of treatment? "What normally happens - for instance, with sciatic pain - would take a course of Continued on page 43 Flexibility important in any fitness program Most people stretch their mus- cles several times a day. We often perform simple stretches when we wake up in the morning, to im- prove the blood flow and prepare for the day. Many people also stretch their legs at work after sitting or work- ing long hours. While this type of stretching is easy and at times al- most involuntary, developing and maintaining good flexibility throughout the body takes a little more work. The cost of inactivity Basically, our bodies work by the "use it or lose it" principle re- garding strength and flexibility. If muscle is no longer under stress or called upon to produce torque (force causing rotation), the mus- cle will gradually weaken and de- crease in size. Similarly, human beings can lose muscle flexibility without proper maintenance. For example, if we don't constantly use the en- tire length of our muscles and the range of motion of our joints, the muscles will shorten and the joint will stiffen and become less mo- have detrimental effects on our bodies. For instance, tightness of the hamstrings limit the ability to maintain a proper lifting position and may lead to a low back injury. In addition, capsular tightening around joints due to lack of move- ment can lead to premature wear- ing of the joint surfaces. Muscle tightness can also cause muscle imbalances across a joint and alter the functioning of the joint. For example, a person with large, tight pectoral muscles can experience a change in the body's scapula (shoulder blade), which in turn comprises the rotator cuff and the shoulder joint itself. Flexibility and athletics Athletes recognize flexibility is critical to performance and pre- venting injuries. Athletes consis- tently take their muscles to the limits of movement during com- petition. During the activity, one must work to maintain optimal muscle flexibility to avoid muscle strains or tears. Just as muscles require stress to stimulate growth, tension must be lengthening. If tension is applied to the muscle regularly, the mus- cle will undergo adaptive leader- ship. While stretching a muscle reqttires several minutes, the process of adaptive lengthening takes several days to several weeks. Proper training techniques When you begin a stretching or flexibility routine, remember to never "bounce" during a stretch. Apply gentle or tolerable tension on the muscle and hold it for a count of 20. This allows the con- nective tissue of the muscles as well as the muscle fibers to be stretched to full length. Bouncing, on the other hand, actually increases tone in the mus- cles and prevents them from being fully stretched. As you hold a stretch, try to relax as much as possible and exhale to get a full stretch. In general, each muscle should be stretched several times, several times a day, to promote adaptive lengthening. Robert Cairo, P.T. Common flexibility exercises As indicated, the pectoral mus- of excessive tightness, influencing posture as well as the mechanics of the shoulder. In an effort to re- lieve this tightness, you can per- form a common exercise called the "comer stretch." To perform this stretch, stand facing a comer, place your hands on the opposing walls with your elbows out to the side and parallel to .the floor. Slowly, lean into the comer until you feel a comfort- able stretch. Experts recommend holding the stretch for 20 seconds and repeating the activity three to five times. In the lower extremities, the hamstring group is often the loca- tion of tightness and decreased length. There are many ways to increase the hamstrings, but often the gluteus and the erector spinae on the back are stretched along with the hamstrings. To isolate the hamstrings, sit with one leg extended in front of you on a table or bench, with the other leg hanging off to the side. Keeping the arch in your lower back, try to touch your navel to your thigh. By keeping the back straight, you can stablize your peAvis .and eliminate, stretching the back. Remember to hold the position for 20 seconds and avoid bouncing. With proper planning and a ded- ication to exercise, you can build muscle and increase flexibility. Remember, tailoring a routine to meet your specific needs can make a difference in experiencing the benefits of your program. HEALTH TOPICS Robert Cairo is a licensed physical therapist at Tidewa- ter Physical Therapy, 945- 5111. Tidewater has 13 offices throughout the Eastern Shore. ......