Khamis, 10 April 2014

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Lots of talks on healing through medical and alternative therapies at the Star Health Fair

Posted: 09 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Doctors and experts to share their expertise at the Star Health Fair 2014.

Talks on healing through medical and alternative therapies will dominate presentations at The Star Health Fair 2014 in Kuala Lumpur starting Friday (April 11).

The three-day event will see doctors and experts in body, mind and spirit sharing their expertise on how people can live a healthier, happier and wholesome life.

International Cancer Therapy & Regenerative Medical Centre CEO Dr Lim Eng Huat will speak on the role of non-invasive immune therapy, natural supplements and a healthy diet and lifestyle in complementing mainstream cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

According to Dr Lim, statistics have shown that with these therapies, a cancer patient's survival rate increases, better life quality is experienced and the risk of cancer recurrence decreases.

He encourages all cancer patients to complement this practice together with the mainstream treatments of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in their long-term battle against cancer.

Dietitian Soh Hui Fang is convinced that knowing what you eat is essential to ensure general well-being.

"By understanding the basic food groups, their functions and effects on the body, we will be able to make the smart and right choice for the food we consume to optimise our health.

"A healthy lifestyle is not all about eating. It's crucial to engage in exercise, which benefits us physically and mentally, as well as reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases, improves stamina and flexibility and enhances well-being," said Soh.

Star2 Ancient Secrets columnist and Vasthu Sastra Guide author T. Selva will be on hand to show how people can rearrange their homes following the 5,000-year-old science of construction for health, peace and prosperity.

He said his presentation would also cover the use of pyramids to tap into subtle energy for healing.

Among the other speakers participating at the fair are founder and clinical director of Rekindle Centre for Systemic Therapy Dr Johnben Loy, who will share how we can improve our relationships through active listening; yoga teacher Soon Yoke Ngoh talking about breathing techniques; and Alvin Tan will show us how to take hold of our anxiety and find peace.

The Star Health Fair 2014 is organised by The Star, with Great Eastern Life as the event partner.

It will be held in Halls 1 to 3 of the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre from April 11 to 13.

The fair is open from 10am to 7pm and admission is free.

This year's theme 'Let's Live Great!' is to inspire Malaysians to lead a healthy living by being physically and mentally fit. For enquiries, call 03-7967 1388 (ext 1243/1475) or visit

New ballet-inspired workouts keeps fitness buffs on their twinkly toes

Posted: 09 Apr 2014 12:15 AM PDT

Inspired by the rigorous training that ballerinas have to endure, a new wave of ballet fusion fitness programmes is keeping practitioners on their toes. 

Have you ever wished you had a ballerina's body – with those long, lean lines and gentle, graceful curves? Top professional dancers start at a very young age and spend countless hours training, working and stretching their muscles so they remain supple yet strong – and not bulk up like bodybuilders do. 

But while not everyone has the luxury nor talent to become a world-class ballerina, the training that ballerinas have to undergo has benefits for anyone looking to have a more limber and toned physique. Here's a quick glance at some of the more exciting ballet-inspired workouts that have recently hit the US fitness scene. 

Bungee Ballet

Bungee Ballet, created by former New York City Ballet dancer Rachel Piskin and her Pilates-trainer mum Lauren, is a group class at ChaiseFitness studio in New York City that puts a fitness spin on ballet moves. The classes, often paired with Pilates, aim to channel the inner ballerina, even in non-dancers.

Rachel and Lauren Piskin, the daughter and mother team who founded ChaiseFitness, have been developing their own brand of ballet-meets-Pilates using a newly designed Pilates chair and bungee straps to emulate the barre. 

Instead of the traditional ballet barre, the 45-minute class relies on an overhead bungee system that Piskin said sculpts the arms and challenges the core of her mostly female clientele.

"By holding on to the bungees, you can hold second position or first position," she said. "Coming from my background, it was important for me to really stay true to traditional ballet moves."

In both of these basic positions of ballet, the feet are aligned heel to heel, touching in first position, then spaced approximately 30cm apart in the second position.

Piskin said the class sculpts the upper body, challenges the core, and works the upper thighs. A series of bungee-assisted petit allegros, or small ballet jumps, keeps the heart rate up.

"The class moves fluidly between one exercise and another and the bungees assist you to jump higher," she said.

Booty Barre

California-based Tracey Mallett is the creator of Booty Barre, a fusion class that combines Pilates, dance and yoga techniques using the traditional ballet barre.

Along with cardio, strength, conditioning and flexibility components, the class, which is now available in over 20 countries, involves Pilates-inspired arm work with dumbbells and resistance bands.

Mallett, a former dancer and certified Pilates instructor, said teaching an arabesque to a non-dancer is not the same as teaching it to a dancer; even the barre serves a different purpose.

"(In class) the barre serves as something to hold on to for balance and ... to work on the muscles around the shoulder girdle," said Mallett. "In dance, we use the barre to practise and strengthen muscles for performance."


The ballet-inspired classes at Equinox, the upscale chain of US fitness centres, come with and without the traditional wall-mounted barre.

Depending on the class, light weights, body bars and squishy balls are utilised, often in small, isometric movements, according to Layla Guest, group fitness manager in downtown Los Angeles.

"To work the upper body, we'll do functional arm movements such as bicep curls and tricep kickbacks, but in a small range of motion with two or three pound weights," she said. "Instead of just a muscular workout, we're looking at how the muscles move."

Lower bodywork also delves into ballet technique.

"With one hand on the barre and the other lengthening out to the side, you get that beautiful shape ballerinas have, (and) those ballet postures, plies, little leg lifts and big kicks," she said. "You really get that coordination."

A final segment of Pilates-based core work is designed to work supporting muscles. Guest said Pilates cultivates those dancer-defining long lean muscles, which lie under the larger muscles prized by bodybuilders.

"The joke is that if you measure yourself before and after ballet or Pilates, you'll grow taller," she said. "Actually, you haven't grown. You just stand taller." – Reuters


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