Healthy Routines for Healthy Hearts…

There are many ways to help keep our hearts healthy, our circulation smooth and our blood vessels free of plaque. Certain conditions are inherited, but being aware of them can help us embrace the Active Wellness habits that counteract them. Our habits start with choices, and it depends on what we’re willing to do, give up or add to our lifestyles.

No smoking: It’s been decades since the benefits of not smoking cigarettes have been brought to light, but now, there are so many things other than cigarettes to smoke. The truth of the matter is, none of it is good for our heart or lungs – some substances can alleviate pain or quell nausea, but inhaled habitually, can cause heart and lung damage. In other words, quitting smoking means stopping the inhalation of a whole range of things – and vaping is ill-advised, too. 

Curb belly fat: Certain parts of the body have a special impact on heart health. Research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has linked excess belly fat to higher blood pressure and unhealthy blood lip levels.1 Health practitioners advise us to try to decrease the belly fat through diet and exercise, not just from spot routines. In other words, a hundred sit-ups a day won’t get rid of belly fat, but losing some weight by eating better (or less) combined with a daily exercise routine that includes some form of cardio or aerobic activity, may do the trick.

Healthy snacks: We all know that eating right is critical for good health. When trying to eat the right foods, one of the things that is hard to do is to give up unhealthy snacking. The good news is that there are actually healthy snacks we can incorporate into our diets. One example is salsa. Salsa is a delightful mix of healthy vegetables as long as we don’t oversalt it. Add in some whole or blended beans – black, white, pinto, any other choices – and the salsa gets a big boost of heart-healthy fibre. 

Omega-3 fatty acids: Another source of heart-healthy food is fish, due to its omega-3 fatty acid content. Not all fish are equal, but salmon, tuna, sardines and herring, for example, contain good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Nutritionists recommend eating fish twice a week, with the health benefits outweighing the risks of mercury ingestion.2

Eat the colour spectrum: Have you heard the saying, “eat the rainbow?” This simply means that a heart-healthy diet can be made up of naturally colourful food – green, red, yellow, orange, purple and blue – easily found in vegetables and fruits. Think of favourite fruits and vegetables and simply incorporate them into meals or eat them in between meals. 

A half teaspoon of salt a day: Researchers have reported in The New England Journal of Medicine that a half teaspoon of salt is all we need per day!3 Salt is apparently one of the leading culprits of high blood pressure which in turn causes heart disease. Salt is a hidden menace found in excessive quantities in processed foods, many restaurant foods and especially fast-foods. Breaking the salt habit can be challenging, but for starters, never salt anything without tasting it first!

Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains heart-healthy flavonoids. These compounds help reduce inflammation and may lower the risk of heart disease, according to scientists in the journal Nutrients. Incorporating dark chocolate into a diet is prudent but not in copious amounts – a couple of squares is recommended.

Go Nuts: Thankfully, some fats are actually good for us! These heart-healthy fats come in the form of almonds, walnuts, pecans and even moderate amounts of peanuts. They also contain protein and fibre that act as fuel and digestive helpers. Although high in healthy fats, they’re also high-calorie so nutritionists advise eating small amounts daily.

Eat breakfast: Although intermittent fasting is trending for weight loss, breakfast truly is an important meal of the day, if not the most important one. To build a heart-healthy meal that ends the overnight “fast,” incorporate whole grains, such as oatmeal, lean protein such as peanut butter, yogurt or low-fat dairy milk (from animal or vegetable sources) and fruit, especially berries high in antioxidants and polyphenols.

Drink tea: Black or green, it’s our choice and either is healthy for the heart. In fact, drinking one to three cups of tea every day may help lower the risk of heart problems. So, have a “cuppa” and enjoy the possibility of lowering the risk of angina and heart attacks!

Fun exercises: Not everyone likes going to the gym and working out, but regular exercise is important for sustained heart health. There are many alternatives to working out. For example, dancing raises the heart rate and gets the lungs pumping. It also burns up to 200 calories or more per hour, and listening to music while dancing is an added pleasure. Walking, swimming, running/jogging, rowing, hiking and so forth, are all great alternatives to the gym and you can connect with nature at the same time. 

Yoga: Another ongoing trend is the practice of yoga. Since it originated in India more than 5,000 years go, this “trend” has proven it’s here to stay. The western world had some catching up to do, but has now shown that yoga has the potential to improve heart health. By stretching virtually every part of the body (even ears, nose and mouth), yoga can help improve balance, flexibility and strength. It also helps relieve stress and helps improve sleep, all adding up to maintaining a healthy heart.

Get enough sleep: When we don’t get enough sleep, the heart is significantly impacted.4 It’s no surprise that the entire body needs its rest, but the heart works 24/7 and really needs to rest! 

1, 2, 3.  https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-heart-tips#know-your-numbers

4. https://www.scripps.org/news_items/5146-5-heart-healthy-habits

2nd February 2023

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Stress and the Mighty Trio: Immunity, Mental Clarity and Mobility

Stress is the body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger – whether it’s real or imagined – the body’s defences kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stress response.”1

When working properly, the stress response protects us and allows us to stay focused and alert. For example, to avoid a car accident, we might slam on the brakes as our stress response. In this way, stress is a positive part of our lives.

The varying levels of stress can be likened to a spectrum. At one end is “eustress,” the manageable levels of stress that help tackle challenges at work, school, or in relationships. Eustress does not necessarily feel comfortable, but it is useful and can help us succeed. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum is “distress.” This is the type of stress that is destructive – it disrupts sleep and creates undesired tension, mood disorders and a negative outlook. Distress can occur when we are too busy at work, owe money, are grieving or suffering any type of painful loss.

Our personalities and perspectives on how we work, compete or play can affect whether stress takes the form of eustress or distress. For example, if there is a looming deadline and it worries or overwhelms us, we are going to experience distress. If that same deadline creates a sense of excitement about the ensuing outcome, we would experience eustress. We therefore are somewhat in control of the stress we live with, but we cannot foresee the future or the unknown.

Chronic stress occurs because stress is sneaky. It can creep up on us and we get so used to feeling stressed out that we don’t even notice its ill effects until they manifest in disturbing ways. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms that chronic stress can cause. 

The three main areas that stress impacts are immunity, mental clarity and mobility. Stress can reduce the number of natural killer cells or lymphocytes in the body, which are needed to fight viruses. It makes us catch colds or the flu more easily, for example.

Chronic stress can produce higher-than-normal levels of the hormone cortisol. This can hamper the body’s anti-inflammatory response and cause continual infections, according to recent immunology research studies.

Knowing our stress triggers can help us deal with them more effectively. The pursuit of Active Wellness includes finding adequate ways to cope with stress.  Here are a few of them:

  • Exercise: Regular exercise is known to improve moods and relieve stress. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and dancing are particularly effective, especially when focusing attention on the physical sensations of each movement.
  • Make human contact: In this day and age of electronic devices, we often spend more time with screens than with people. The simple act of talking face-to-face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve stress. Even a brief exchange of kind words or a friendly look from another human being can help calm and soothe the nervous system. 
  • Use the senses: Sight, sound, taste, smell, touch. The key is to find the sensory input that works best for each individual. Does listening to an uplifting song produce calmness? Is the scent of a favourite flower soothing? Research has shown that the act of petting a dog or cat not only comforts the animal, but also the human.  Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so finding the best use of any of the five senses can be a fun experiment. 
  • Relax. Some people are good at letting go of stress at the end of the day and can relax. Others need to consciously practice the art of relaxation. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the polar opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities can help reduce everyday stress levels and boost feelings of joy and serenity. They also may increase the ability to stay calm and collected under pressure.
  • Eat healthy food. “You are what you eat” doesn’t need to be taken literally, but it holds truth. Food can improve or worsen moods and affect how we cope with life’s stressors. Eating a diet full of processed and convenience food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of stress, while a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help us cope with life’s ups and downs.
  • Get enough sleep. Feeling tired can magnify stress. Getting restful sleep can be tricky because chronic stress can disrupt sleep. Making the sleep environment as comfortable as possible and adhering to a sleep cycle that allows for 6-8 hours can be helpful.
  1. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes
  2. 3.  https://health.umms.org/2020/11/10/stress-immune-system/

26th January 2023

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Creating Your Best 2023!

This week’s blog is by the Chancellor of Nikken University Jeff Isom.

The new year is often seen as a time of renewal and a chance to start fresh. It is a time when we can reflect on the past year and set goals for the year ahead. The new year can be a powerful and hopeful time for many reasons.

One reason the new year can be so powerful is because it gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past and learn from our experiences. By looking back on the past year, we can gain a better understanding of what has worked and what hasn’t, and use this knowledge to make positive changes in the new year. Think about your life in 2022. What was amazing? What are you most proud of? What will you choose to change in 2023? This can be a powerful and empowering experience, as it allows us to take control of our lives and create the new results we want to see.

Another reason the new year can be a hopeful time is because it gives us a chance to set new goals and make positive changes in our lives. Whether we want to improve our health, relationships, career, or something else, the new year provides us with the perfect opportunity to take the first steps towards achieving our goals. By setting specific, achievable goals and taking action towards achieving them, we can create the changes we want to see in our lives and feel more hopeful about the future.

The new year can also be a powerful time because it gives us a sense of fresh start and new beginnings. After the holiday season, many of us feel renewed and ready to tackle the year ahead. I always know that being around family and feeling their love and support helps me with my desire to be my best self in the new year. Even if things aren’t perfect, this sense of hope and optimism can be contagious, and can help us feel more motivated and energized as we embark on the new year.

The new year is often a time when we can come together with friends and loved ones to celebrate and look towards the future. Whether we gather around a table for a New Year’s Eve feast, make resolutions with friends, or simply spend time with loved ones, the new year is a great time to support one another as we get ready to embark on a new journey.

So, as the new year approaches, let’s take some time to reflect on the past and set goals for the year ahead. Let’s embrace the sense of hope and optimism that the new year brings, and make the most of the opportunities it offers.

Two important ideas can help us to make 2023 our best year ever. Starting with the appropriate mindset and setting goals that resonate with us powerfully are two great strategies for ensuring we create the results we are looking for. Employing both of them together is a key for success. Let’s look at how each idea can be fully utilized.

When you approach the new year with a positive attitude, you are more likely to set and achieve your goals, as well as handle challenges and setbacks in a more resilient and productive way. This is because having a positive mindset allows you to see the possibilities and opportunities in any given situation, rather than dwelling on the negative.

Research has shown that people who approach their goals with a positive attitude are more likely to persist in the face of challenges and setbacks, and are ultimately more successful in achieving their goals. This is because a positive mindset can help you stay motivated and focused, even when things get tough.

Another benefit of starting the new year with a positive mindset is that it can lead to better relationships with others. When you have a positive attitude, you are more likely to be open and accepting of others, which can help foster stronger, more meaningful relationships. This is especially important in the new year, when we often make resolutions to improve our relationships with others.

Starting the new year with a positive mindset can also lead to an overall sense of happiness and fulfilment. This is because having a positive attitude allows you to focus on the good things in your life and can help you feel more content and satisfied, which can in turn contribute to your overall well-being.

Overall, it is clear that starting the new year with a positive mindset and taking some time to reflect and make a conscious effort to cultivate a positive outlook will serve you well throughout the year. Along with your mindset, an important strategy for creating your best 2023 is to identify and plan out the goals or results you’d like to achieve.

Setting goals for the new year is an important way to create a roadmap for your future and work towards achieving your aspirations. It can be a powerful tool for personal and professional growth, and can help you stay motivated and focused as you work towards your objectives. However, setting goals is only the first step – you also need to have a plan in place to make them happen. Let’s explore the importance of setting goals and outline the steps you can take to make your goals a reality.

First, let’s look at why setting goals is so important. Goals provide a sense of direction and purpose, and help you stay focused on what you want to achieve. They give you something to work towards, and can provide a sense of accomplishment when you reach them. Additionally, research has shown that setting goals can have a positive impact on your overall well-being, as it can increase your sense of control and autonomy, boost your self-esteem, and improve your mental and physical health.

So, how do you go about setting goals for the new year? One effective method is to use the SMART criteria, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This means that your goals should be specific and clearly defined, measurable so you can track your progress, attainable and realistic, relevant to your values and priorities, and have a set time frame for completion.

Once you have identified your goals using the SMART criteria, the next step is to create a plan of action. This should include a series of smaller, more manageable tasks that will help you work towards your larger goal. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, your plan of action might include tasks such as joining a gym, tracking your food intake, and scheduling regular exercise sessions. By breaking your goal down into smaller tasks, you can make progress on a daily or weekly basis, which can help you stay motivated and on track.

Examples of SMART goals could include the following intentions to increase income or build additional muscle:

“Increase my income by $5,000* within the next six months by securing a higher paying job, negotiating a raise at my current job, or expanding my home-based business.”

This goal is specific, as it clearly states the desired outcome (increasing income by a specific amount). It is measurable, as it includes a specific dollar amount that can be tracked over time. It is attainable, as it is realistic to expect to be able to secure a higher paying job, negotiate a raise within six months, or expand an entrepreneurial endeavour. It is relevant, as it aligns with the goal of earning more money. And it is time-bound, as it includes a specific timeframe for completion (six months).

“Increase my muscle mass by five pounds within the next three months by following a structured strength training program and eating a calorie- and protein-rich diet.”

This goal is specific, as it clearly states the desired outcome (increasing muscle mass by a specific amount). It is measurable, as it includes a specific weight that can be tracked over time. It is attainable, as it is realistic to expect to be able to gain five pounds of muscle within three months with a structured strength training program and proper nutrition. It is relevant, as it aligns with the goal of gaining more muscle. And it is time-bound, as it includes a specific timeframe for completion (three months).

In addition to setting specific goals and creating a plan of action, there are a few other strategies you can use to increase your chances of success. One is to enlist the support of others – whether it’s friends, family, or a professional coach or mentor – who can provide encouragement, accountability, and guidance as you work towards your goals. You can also consider setting up rewards or incentives for yourself as you make progress, which can help you stay motivated and on track.

While setting goals and working towards them can be challenging, the effort is well worth it. Not only can achieving your goals bring a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, it can also help you grow and develop as a person, and improve your overall well-being. 

By focusing on the things you want to achieve and the person you want to become, you can turn your dreams into a reality. So, if you want 2023 to be amazing, start by setting your sights on what you want to accomplish and believing in yourself. With a positive mindset and clear goals, the possibilities are endless.

*Any amounts shown in dollars are examples only.

5th January 2023

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New Year Message from the CEO

Dear Nikken Global Wellness Community,

As I look back at 2022, I see how much we have accomplished. I also see clearly that there is so much more to do. According to analysts, 2023 is expected to be a challenging year. Yet, I remain optimistic. I would like to share with you, why.

At Nikken, the spirit of Humans Being More is how we can improve our own foundations and the key to growth during difficult times. This spirit serves as the solution to many conflicts and relates to our responsibility as a community to bring the message of well-being to one and all. This message of wellness is needed even more during difficult times and it is our mission to deliver it.

We can choose to be proactive and responsive rather than reactive and combative. We can choose to be kind rather than judgmental, and we can consciously make the best of the worst situations. Do you know the Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl? He was an Auschwitz survivor who wrote and lectured about the search for life’s meaning as the primary human motivational force. In Dr. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, life’s meaning comes from three sources: purposeful work, love, and courage when facing adversity. He explains that the discovery of life’s meaning can come about in three ways: by creating a work or doing a deed, by experiencing or encountering someone, and by facing unavoidable suffering with a positive and forgiving attitude.

In my 28 years with Nikken, I have found purposeful work, love and the courage to navigate the many ups and downs we have faced as a company. Together with our Nikken Team and leaders in the field, we have experienced many changes. It has not always been easy, and we have transparently aired our differences. Ultimately, we pledge to continue as a united front, moving forward with humility, compassion and forgiveness. 

The idea of forgiveness is an integral part of this season of family celebrations and renewal of friendships. Forgiveness does not come naturally to everyone, but it can be a conscious choice. The reality is, when we don’t forgive others and stay angry or resentful, we are punishing ourselves. It’s not anyone’s responsibility to change to please someone else, and misplaced expectations may cause negative emotions that don’t work. For example, we have losses and gains in relationships, so we need to let go and forgive what didn’t work and hold on and be grateful for what does. 

We need to start with ourselves. What I mean by this is that we need to forgive ourselves. We often are harshest with ourselves. So, let’s be kind to ourselves! We are humans and imperfect, so we are better off forgiving ourselves and trying to improve. And, hand-in-hand with forgiving ourselves is being grateful for what we have in every aspect of our lives. Humans Being More training teaches us to forgive through learning about ourselves and transforming into better versions of ourselves. This is an ongoing process for as long as we live. 

What I wish for you during this celebratory time of year is peace in your heart as you approach 2023 and love and health for your entire family! Enjoy the new year, reflect on what you really want for yourself and others and go for it! 

Your friend,

Luis Kasuga
President & CEO

30th December 2022

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Why Do Grounding and Magnetics Make Such Great Partners?

When we describe someone as “being grounded,” it means he or she is steadfast, centred and balanced. Grounded people are not “up in the air”; they are strong and focused, regardless of the chaos that may be around them. Their feet are planted on terra firma.

Being grounded is not just a metaphor. It’s a physical fact. Before civilization, homo sapiens actually lived on the ground: walking, sleeping and sitting all took place on the Earth itself with nothing in between – no furniture, no shoes.

“Only recently has the knowledge and significance of this connection been explored and explained by scientific experts. From them, we are learning that the Earth’s electrical energy maintains the order of our own bodily frequencies. We all live and function electrically on an electrical planet. We are each of us a collection of dynamic electrical circuits in which trillions of cells constantly transmit and receive energy in the course of their programmed biochemical reactions. Your heart, brain, nervous system, muscles and immune system are prime examples of electrical subsystems operating within your bioelectrical body. The fact is, all of your movements, behaviours and actions are energized by electricity.”1

Most people are totally unaware of their bioelectrical nature or the energetic connection between their bodies and the earth’s surface. Many of us don’t even realize that we’re disconnected from Mother Nature. Our feet and the rest of our bodies rarely touch real ground. We keep insulated with layers of clothing, rubber soles, mattresses, any assortment of chairs and accessories.

Science informs us that the Earth’s electrons contain a natural, negative charge. Maintaining contact with the ground allows our bodies to naturally receive and become charged with these electrons. When we are “grounded,” we absorb these beneficial electrons that “reduce electrical imbalances in the body.”Since our bodies are composed of mostly water and minerals – just like the Earth – we are mutually electrically conductive.

Then there’s massage. Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure. Some common types include:

  • Swedish – gentle with long strokes and deep circular movements
  • Deep – slow forceful strokes to target deep layers of muscle and connective tissue
  • Sports – similar to Swedish but geared toward athletes to help loosen muscles and to prevent or treat sport injuries
  • Acupressure or trigger point – focuses on areas of tight muscle fibres that also converge with nerves

Offered more and more often as a standard treatment for a wide range of muscular conditions and situations, massage has proven to be effective for helping to reduce and manage stress, for soothing aches and pains and for decreasing muscle tension. Practitioners have also found massage to be helpful in dealing with anxiety, digestive disorders, headaches, insomnia related to stress, soft tissue injuries and aching joints.

As soothing and relaxing a massage can be, another person is generally required. You go to a spa or a massage therapist and have a “hands on” experience. The human touch of another often has a therapeutic result, because it gives a feeling of connectedness and warmth.

But what if you don’t have the time, energy or resources to go to a massage therapist? What if you desire immediate relief? Now more than ever, there are products for self-massage and grounding indoors. Nikken is at the forefront in the development of these products. 

Numerous products that provide a massaging effect include permanent magnets that generally work slowly and gently. They are especially appropriate for long-term self-administration. Fixed magnetic therapy is usually applied for longer periods to be optimally effective. Permanent magnets come in great variety. There are magnets of various sizes and pulsating magnets work by mimicking the kneading sensation produced by human fingers. Pulsating magnets allow you to feel the sensations that are similar to a regular massage, while reaping the benefits of magnetic penetration.

When you practice indoor grounding and magnetic massage, you essentially are blending two easy-to-use modalities, to achieve double the benefits for Active Wellness. These include: 

  • Helping to relieve stress
  • Maintaining overall wellness
  • Stimulating local blood flow
  • Reducing muscle tension and discomfort
  • Reducing stiffness and fatigue.
  • Creating an overall sense of relaxation

When you combine grounding and magnetic massage in the comfort of your own home, you are really taking mind and body balance to a higher level. Nikken makes it easy for you with the Mindful Gift Set available in our 2022 Holiday Gift Guide, which includes a FREE Kenko PowerSleep® Mask too! 

  1. Ober, Clinton etal, Earthing, Basic Health Publications, Columbus, OH, 2014, p.8.
  2. Ibid, p. 9.

15th December 2022

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Connecting with Nature in Autumn…

Forest bathing may not be that familiar to the western world, but connecting with nature is universally known as a way to attain physical, mental and even spiritual well-being. 

As the weather gets colder in the autumn months leading into winter, we may have the impulse to disconnect with nature by staying indoors 24/7. What we should do, is bundle up and embrace the outdoors – in a way, to embrace the Nordic way! The Mental Health Foundation in the UK did a survey recently that showed 75% of adults experienced an improvement in their mood after being close to green spaces!1  So let’s make an effort to keep summer outdoor habits going through autumn and into winter! We just have to take the right precautions!

Here are some ways to reconnect with nature through autumn:

  • Go foraging for leaves, pebbles, wild berries and anything that catches your eye. Create an art project, such as a collage or a miniature terrarium, with items such as feathers, bark, pine cones, acorns and anything natural. Take advantage of the most colourful season of the year!
  • Take photos as you go on a walk around your neighbourhood or take a hike on a trail.
  • The UK is the leader of “green social prescribing,” which links people to nature-based activities to help reduce stress and other mental health issues. Continuing research shows reconnecting with Mother Nature is the way to less stress and therefore fewer challenges both physically and mentally!
  • Guided walks encourage the benefits of breathing fresh air while learning about the natural environment, ecology and your local ecosystem. Search for these types of educational walks (or hikes) in your local area, as they have grown in popularity over the last decade.
  • Do you live where a bit of a drive takes you to an orchard or a berry patch? Autumn is apple and berry season! Many local areas allow you to go pick your own for a small fee, and you’re even allowed to eat as you pick! 
  • Do you like the introspective hobbies, such as reading, knitting or painting? Take it all outdoors! Find a comfy bench or a scenic spot and enjoy yourself with the benefit of fresh air.
  • Are you a morning person? How about going outside to watch the sun rise? And if you’re more of a night person, watching the sun set is just as breath-taking.
  • When you’re indoors, use the KenkoGround® to keep you connected to nature. All you need is a grounded outlet.

Use your imagination, put on a sweater or a warm coat and head outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes each day. You’ll find it invigorating and easily start a wonderful Active Wellness habit. To make it more fun, invite a friend or someone you’d like to befriend, to join you. The buddy system helps good habits stick. Time spent with someone can be a gift in and of itself.

As we enter the season of giving, Nikken is happy to share the 2022 Something for Everyone Gift Guide. Items in the Gift Guide are available through 2022. Check it out here

1,2. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-connect-nature-boost-your-mental-health-during-autumn-wright?trk=public_profile_article_view

10th November 2022

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Healthy Routines Create Active Wellness…

Routines help us. They provide a sense of familiarity and comfort. So, when we want to live a healthy lifestyle of Active Wellness, the easiest way is to create a comfortable routine that we can stick to.

Look at children and dogs, for example. They thrive on routine. Same time to get up, to go to school (or go for a walk if it’s the dog), to have meals, to go to bed. Switching it up can feel disruptive to them, so ideally, their routines are healthy to begin with!

Adults are not so different: when we establish a healthy routine, the body and mind get into a nice rhythm. The trick is to make your healthy routine do-able. You can change your routine, bit by bit if you want to make further improvements, but the basic parts of a healthy regimen revolve around eating and drinking right, getting enough sleep, exercising consistently, breathing fresh air and being conscious of our thoughts. That really means we need to pay attention to our mental state as well as our physical condition.

There are five main goals to keep in mind as we create our healthy routines:

1.   Better Immunity: A robust immune system not only helps us function at a high level, but it also helps us prevent illness and recover more quickly if we do contract something. A nutrient-dense diet, plenty of restful sleep, exercise and a clear mind all help to boost immunity.

2.   Improve Mood: Happiness. It’s what we all want and it begins with a good mood. It improves our confidence levels and even helps our social lives. A good mood works hand-in-hand with a positive can-do attitude. Foods high in antioxidants and minerals have been shown to help fight depression and exercise is known to get our feel-good endorphins in motion. Drinking water throughout the day also keeps us happy: no one is in a good mood when they’re feeling thirsty.

3.   Boost Energy: Everyone wants to feel energetic and with our modern lifestyles, we can all use more! The busier we are, the more prone we might be to skipping meals or eating not-so-healthy fast foods. The best ways to boost energy levels are to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and stay on a sleep schedule. Fad diets are not helpful over the long run to keep energy at high levels.

4.   Prevent Sickness: Regardless of our genetic makeup, it’s best to prevent sickness rather than deal with it. Knowing your family history can be helpful, as some issues are hereditary. For example, some people may have high cholesterol because both their parents do. Regardless of genetics, staying with the basics of eating lots of vegetables/fruit, breathing fresh air, staying active daily and getting enough rest can be a great formula for maintaining flexible joints, a healthy heart and weight, balanced blood sugar levels and clear thinking.

5.   Longevity: Living a long life has been a goal of people around the world. But living long without good health is not so desirable. Once again, the key is to stay healthy with a proper diet and healthy routine. In other words, create healthy habits, stay with them year after year, and that will up your chances of living to a pleasant old age. 

So much of an Active Wellness lifestyle depends on what we grow up with, so it’s up to us to educate our youngsters. Not only can we practice what we preach, but we can role model it. What might be an area we have to improve in our own lifestyles, can be something the next generations start out with: breathing fresh air, eating an abundance of vegetables and fruit, exercising daily, drinking water rather than sugary, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, sleeping on a healthy schedule and thinking positive thoughts. 

At Nikken, we provide solutions: Kenzen nutrition, PiMag® filtered alkaline water, KenkoAir® Purifier, Kenko Sleep Products, KenkoGround® and so many magnetic massage and support products. They’re all part of a Wellness Home!

Until 31st December 2022, SAVE up to 40% on KENZEN® Super Ciaga® and KENZEN® BDZ®! Nikken’s Cold Seasons Superheroes are there to help boost yours and your family’s health and immunity!

13th October 2022

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See You Next Year, Summer! Hello, Autumn!

What happens to our sleep patterns when we move from the summer months into autumn? In Europe and North America, this transition has already started as we approach the end of September. 

During the summer, sunlight continues into the evening hours and the feeling of night feels delayed. That’s why it may be so difficult to get children to sleep at their regular bedtimes during the summer months! As daylight hours shorten, it may become easier to get the small ones to sleep but actually harder for adults to get their needed rest. The reason for this is our exposure to vitamin D decreases in the autumn months. 

Our bodies actually manufacture vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is important in the production of melatonin, which helps us regulate our circadian rhythms and promotes restful sleep. During the autumn months, there are fewer sunlit hours so our bodies may produce less melatonin. One way to overcome this possible shortage is to make sure to spend time outside, even as the weather cools down. In other words, make sure to get sun exposure!

Depending on personal preferences, some people may find it difficult to exercise when summer heat is at its highest. Autumn may well be the perfect outdoor climate for those who stayed in air-conditioned rooms all summer long! Getting a good dose of outdoor exercise – even in cloudy weather – helps obtain the sun exposure and the sleep benefits that come along with a well worked-out body. And, exercise is known to help decrease anxiety and stress, all of which help promote a good night’s sleep.

One proviso about exercise is not to work out too close to your bedtime. When you exercise, your body is revved up. If you do that right before you go to bed, it might take longer to fall asleep, because your body will need to calm down. In order to get the most sleep-boosting benefits, aim to workout at least three to six hours before you plan to go to sleep.1

When we transition into autumn, just as some people will find it harder to get restful sleep, there are others who might actually find it hard to stay awake until it’s their actual bedtime. This is again related to light exposure. Falling asleep too early can also disrupt the natural circadian rhythm and lead to an exhausting day; therefore, staying in brightly lit rooms up to two hours before bedtime is recommended. This helps to keep the brain alert until it’s the correct time to start winding down.2

Depending on your sleep habits – whether you sleep with the window open or use centralized air conditioning or heating – moving from summer into autumn may be the ideal time to change your bedding. You may opt for flannel sheets instead of lighter cotton and you may choose a warmer quilt for autumn. It all has to do with temperature control and you are the best judge of what helps you sleep best. 

Our immune systems are more fragile during seasonal transitions, especially since we are exposed to colds and flu at this time of year. We need good restful sleep to keep the immune system functioning optimally. So, if you can’t get the best sleep at night, try for a “power nap” during the day. Even 20 minutes can be helpful for staying in a state of Active Wellness. 

No matter what season we are in, Kenko Sleep Technology is the Nikken way to help you sleep like a baby. And don’t forget that tomorrow is the last day to SAVE up to 40% on selected Nikken Sleep Products!

1. https://blog.fitbit.com/transition-sleep-routine/

2. https://www.wellandgood.com/change-in-seasons-affects-sleep/

29th September 2022

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Are You in Tune with Your Circadian Rhythm?

We’re reminded that humans are part of Nature when we discover the many similarities between all living things. One interesting commonality has to do with our circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. These natural processes respond primarily to light and dark and affect most living things, including animals, plants, and microbes. One example of a light-related circadian rhythm is sleeping at night and being awake during the day.1

The study of circadian rhythms is called Chronobiology, from the Greek “chronos” meaning time, and “biology” which pertains to the study of science and life. The body follows an internal timekeeping system known as the circadian clock and this clock is what regulates the natural circadian rhythm. 

What makes up the circadian rhythm? Our daily cycles of sleeping and waking, hunger and digestion, hormonal changes and other bodily processes all pertain to the circadian rhythm. Circadian comes from Latin, “circo diem,” which literally translates to “about a day.” Most circadian rhythms automatically reset every in 24 hours, the timeframe for “circo diem.”

Circadian rhythms are not only affected by light and dark, but also by interactions with people, meal times, and hormonal fluctuations. For example, when the sun rises in the morning, the body produces cortisol, a hormone that makes us feel refreshed and alert. After waking, a healthy person will become increasingly tired throughout the day until the sun goes down, when feelings of tiredness are at their highest. As the sun begins to set, the pineal gland will release melatonin, a hormone that reduces wakefulness and alertness.

There are variations on when people feel tired and when they feel alert throughout the day. Two examples are “early risers,” who go to bed and wake up early and “night owls” who go to bed relatively late and then sleep in. Our sleep rhythm may evolve and change with age – older people tend to go to sleep and wake up earlier in the day than younger people, while babies will sleep in multiple phases throughout the day and night.

A master clock in the brain coordinates all the biological clocks in a living thing, keeping the clocks in sync. In vertebrate animals, including humans, the master clock is a group of about 20,000 nerve cells (called neurons) located in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus where it receives direct input from the eyes. In the grand scheme of Nature, researchers have identified similarities in the master clocks of people, fruit flies, mice, plants, fungi and other organisms!

When our circadian rhythm goes out of whack, it can cause insomnia, weight gain, mood changes, anxiety, shortened attention spans, daytime sleepiness and lethargy. The good news is that we can help keep our circadian rhythm functioning smoothly.

  • Wake up every day at the same time: Keeping a regular sleep schedule will help reset your circadian rhythm. Even if unable to fall asleep at the desired time, make sure to set an alarm and wake up at the set time anyway. This will keep you on track.
  • Different meal times: Circadian rhythms regulate when we feel hungry and how we digest food – some studies have found that eating sooner or delaying meals can alter how your circadian rhythm adjusts those processes.
  • Exercise: Proper exercise can improve sleep quality and duration, while a healthy sleep-wake cycle ensures more strength and endurance when you work out. However, exercise is also stimulating if you work out too close to bedtime. If you find you don’t get enough sleep at night and want to reorient your circadian rhythm, try incorporating regular exercise into your routine. But as with all things related to the circadian rhythm, timing is important so do not exercise within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Keep your electronic devices off or out of sight. Light from electronic devices at night can confuse our biological clocks.

Nikken has the solutions to help you enjoy Good Nights and Sweet Dreams! Until the 30th of September, you can SAVE up to 40% on selected Nikken rest and relaxation products which can help you to support your body’s natural abilities to recuperate while sleeping!

Visit www.nikken.com/eu/ – Rest & Relaxation / Special Offers sections to view the various sleep products available.

1. https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/fact-sheets/Pages/Circadian-Rhythms. 

15th September 2022

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From Personal Need to Helping the World…

Companies are started for many different reasons. Isamu Masuda founded Nikken because he personally had a need and nothing fulfilled it. In the true spirit of entrepreneurship, he thought outside of the box and found a way to fulfill his personal need and in doing so, created a company that could do the same for countless people, first in Japan and eventually, globally.

Young Masuda became the son of a single mother when his father died in World War II. His mother managed a small shop and when he was 18, young Isamu found a job with a bus company. Over the next few years, he worked his way up from washing buses to being a desk clerk. 

Married at age 27, Masuda was intensely interested in ways to improve health, possibly because he personally did not have a robust constitution. He started to work at a shop providing health-related products. His goals and career path changed when his son was born with daunting health challenges. The need to support his family and help improve the health of his son and himself, was enough to spur him into action. Doctors told him his son’s recovery would be expensive, so the new father logically decided he had to find a way to make a lot of money.

Inspiration came in the form of personal experience. Japanese people are introduced to hot baths early in life and grow accustomed to communal bathing. Families enjoy public baths with a key feature: pebbles on the floor of the baths stimulate the feet. Creatively thinking, Mr. Masuda combined the concepts of the stimulating pebbles with the age-long practice of using magnets, believed by Japanese to be therapeutic. He created the first magnetic insole that could be placed inside shoes.

His invention was a hit almost immediately. His customers claimed they felt better in different ways. They said their circulation improved, they felt more energetic and they were getting better sleep. But Masuda was not a businessman and didn’t know how to expand, so he reached out to an experienced financier. Together they grew their insole business. 

Nikken sold only insoles for the first three years of business. They were sold to help improve overall energy through stability and stamina from the feet upward. Independent distributors later expanded into other countries and has now been an international company for more than 45 years.

Kenko Insoles are now available in two variations: mStrides and mSteps. Both continue on the Japanese tradition of magnets for therapeutic usage combined with the effect of the hot bath pebbles. The contemporary insoles make use of patented magnetic DynaFlux® technology. Depending on preference you can choose Kenko mSteps insoles that are “bumpier” for more intense massage effects or Kenko mStrides for a smoother surface. Both are durable, provide support for feet, legs and back, and are ventilated so feet stay cool.

As the flagship product line, Kenko Insoles have withstood the test of time and have built a huge fan base. Here are a few examples of what people with happy feet say:

“I used to have discomfort on my ankles for years. Since I wear the mStrides, the discomfort went away! So grateful for the technologies!” U. Pho

“I feel grounded and connected all day with my mStrides.” C. Aubry

“Ever since I was 7 years old, I’ve had challenges with my joints and being on my feet for long periods of time. I consistently wear mSteps or mStrides in my shoes and even my sandals. I like both so I just keep them, without switching them out. I no longer feel challenged when I’m on my feet!” B. Richmond

“I am a busy mom and entrepreneur business owner. I love my mSteps—it’s one of the easiest things I can do to improve my well-being without adding another thing to my to-do list. I have improved balance and feel that it supports the flexibility of my back, while my energy levels are better during the day. Slide them in the shoe and forget about it.” A. Weinberg

How are you doing with your Summer Active Wellness Support regimen? Walking, hiking, running or gardening, traveling and anything you do on your feet can be surprisingly easy with Kenko Insoles. Until 31st August, you can SAVE 25%* on both mSteps and mStrides. 

*Offer not valid on Wellness Subscription.

25th August 2022

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