Five Overlooked Sore Back Pain Relief Remedies, Natural Remedies For Lower Back Pain Relief at Home

man-having-a-back-pain

Sore Back Pain Relief Remedies: If you are like me and suffered through back pain, you understand the hardships and desperation. I searched for sore back pain natural remedies, which can be done at home. Born with a hip birth defect, I looked normal, but one leg longer than the other and used a shoe insole in my left shoe to compensate for my abnormality.

As a consequence, if I did not use my shoe insole, I would limp and after a few weeks my hip would become really sore. As time went on during my 20’s I began to feel some burn and achiness around my right hip with lower back pain.

Overlooked Sore Back Pain Relief Remedies, Natural Remedies for Lower Back Pain at Home…

In my late 20s, many Orthopedic Surgeons indicated the need for hip replacement.  These doctors stated I was a good candidate for hip replacement surgery. And If I did not get surgery my hip pain and lower back pain would get even worse. I took backache pain relief medicine, but with severe side effects and decided to seek out natural sore lower back remedies from home.

Five Sore Back Pain Relief Remedies-BAD BACK REMEDIES:

1. Restore your Sleep

One of the main causes of insomnia is caused by pain. According to a study, over 60% of people suffer from lower back pain. As a consequence, the more inadequate sleep can increase your back pain. Lack of sleep in conjunction with a bad back, can work together and make the back problem worse. If you have sleep problems such as waking up several times during the night, then you need to seek out a specialist.

Unfortunately, the less sleep you get, the worse the back pain can become. The sleeping disorder may or may not come from the back pain. Nevertheless, please consult with a physician, to discern the cause of your sleep disorder. As there are many sleeping disorders, there are many opportunities for sleeping problems.

2-Tighten up the midsection is a great bad back exercise.

Tightening up the midsection is a great bad back exercise regimen, but many times overlooked. The muscles in your abs coupled with the back muscles work together in the support of your lower back. If you sit hunched over your PC and text, then probably you have bad posture and need to stretch out.

As for bad back exercises, I recommend regimen of Pilates and working the Core section. However, you will need a coach to teach you how to breathe while doing the Pilates exercise, and believe me they are hard to do.

When my lower back became sore, I went to a Pilates professional, and after a few sessions, my stamina increased and my pain decreased. Please consult with a physician, before starting any exercise regimen

3-Provide Back Pain Relief with Cold / Hot therapy

It may be old fashioned. However, don’t underestimate the pain reduction of simply applying cold or hot packs to assist in reducing your lower back pain.

Cold therapy for Back Pain Relief

Cold therapy has two primary benefits by possibly reducing inflammation and reducing spasms.

My Favorite: Heat therapy for Back Pain Relief!

Heat therapy has two primary benefits for back pain relief: First, it stimulates blood flow.  Then brings about healing nutrients to the problem area, and it may prevent pain messages being sent to the brain. I love heat therapy for back pain relief!

Heat therapy consists of soaking in a hot tub, hat wraps, or using a heating pad,and much more!

4- Acupuncture for Back Pain Relief

Acupuncture has been used for ever for many types of chronic pain. Basically, Acupuncture works to stimulate your nervous system, and assists in pain relief. Today Acupuncture is considered an alternative to many western treatments and it should be tried out.

5-Hamstring Stretches is a great bad back exercise.

The hamstring located on the back of the thighs. If too tight, your lower back may be in pain or experience achiness. Hamstring stretches are a great bad back exercise and can be done at no cost! Like all other exercises, it should be done carefully, and please consult a physician prior to any exercise regimen.

Remember stretches should be done slowly; while not in pain. The idea consists of loosening the hamstring gently to experience relief.

How To Provide Sore Back Pain Relief, WITHOUT backache Pain Relief Medication…

 

…Then I highly recommend a Coccyx cushion for back pain relief:

Discover the freedom and joy that comes from a healthy, pain-free body bursting with vitality! Start your healing journey today by booking an appointment with AB Acupuncture.

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Health care service companies: medical virtual assistants bring more results

hiring-a-social-media-virtual-assistant-for-good-results

It seems as if more and more people are taking advantage of the power of the Internet by starting their own online businesses. They realize the many avenues available via the Internet to do some small business marketing to help ensure the success of their online business. One of the most popular avenues to take to promote and market are through the use of social media sites. Though you probably already know, social media refers to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. These sites are a great way to not only make personal connections, but business connections as well. Marketing on these sites consistently can almost guarantee more traffic and increased revenue to your website.

 

Often times, many online business owners are aware of the power of social media sites, but just do not have the time to consistently keep up with marketing on them. If this is referring to you and your business, it would be an intelligent move to go ahead and hire what is known as a Social Media Virtual Assistant. This is a VA that has a proven track record with marketing on these kinds of sites. It is a good idea to hire a Social Media Virtual Assistant for a few reasons.

 

The most important one being that without having to Social Media manage, you are able to put time and energy into other avenues of your business without having to sacrifice marketing on your favorite social media sites. Another great reason to hire a Social Media VA is that they may have much more experience then you do in regards to this kind of marketing. Experience equals results and that is ultimately what you are striving for. Whatever the reason may be, to bring a VA onto your team that specializes in a particular area is usually a positive strategy for all involved. Good luck!

 

Save Time. Make More Money. Grow Your Practice. Let Golean Health take care of your office needs while you and your staff spend more time serving your patients.

 

Doll Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease

senior-woman-with-alzheimer

Doll therapy for Alzheimer’s? A baby doll for an Alzheimer’s disease sufferers seems an unlikely gift idea, right? Think again. A ninth grader in Paris, Arkansas, founded “Dolls for Dementia,” a nonprofit organization that provides dolls and stuffed animals for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Their donations are recommended by the National Alzheimer’s Association and are made specifically for dementia patients.

The reasoning behind providing dolls for Alzheimer’s patients is based on compelling hypotheses. Study results reported by England’s Nursing Times indicate real benefits.  The introduction of dolls can increase positive behavior and decrease negative behavior.  Having a realistic “newborn” doll or a stuffed animal to care for seems to be soothing. Studies conducted at England’s University of Newcastle on Tyne even pointed to doll therapy lowering the patients’ need for anti-psychotic drugs.

While conclusive studies have not been done on doll therapy for Alzheimer’s, the conventional wisdom is that there is value. Although some see a connection between the dolls and parenting memories, dolls also benefit those who have never had children. Giving the person with dementia purpose and responsibility appeals to many.

Benefits of Providing Doll Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients

Our own Baton Rouge Home Instead nurse believes doll therapy for dementia is beneficial for some. She has seen doll therapy for Alzheimer’s patients work in a nursing home setting. She has witnessed first-hand negative fidgety behavior replaced by care for the “baby.” The introduction of the doll also allowed the staff to redirect the patient. When she became agitated and loud, they could caution her to not wake the baby. She believes the benefit of providing doll therapy for Alzheimer’s patients varies from case to case. Doll therapy for Alzheimer’s sufferers is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Benefit simply depends on the individuals and their living situation.

Doll therapy for Alzheimer’s is controversial. Many families perceive a loved one caring for a doll or stuffed animal as demeaning. The therapy is not to be entered into lightly.  There is a slow and careful process necessary for success. It must be acknowledged that with the many benefits can come various problems.

The Difficulties of Providing Doll Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients

The downside to doll therapy for Alzheimer’s patients can come when a senior over-invests, putting the doll’s well-being above his own. A senior may also become over-stimulated due to his or her fixation on the “baby.” In a mixed setting, other facility residents may not understand the purpose of doll therapy for Alzheimer’s patients  and tease or berate the one who cares for a doll. Forgetful patients may frequently lose their “babies” and so become agitated and distraught.

Care home staff need to monitor residents’ interactions with the dolls very carefully. Some care homes have found residents can get too attached to the dolls, putting them to sleep in their beds, for example, while they sleep in the chair. They have also led to arguments between residents.

Afterwards, however, everyone said there were clear benefits and reported a calming effect, reduction in wandering, increased communication and improved speech.

So, doll therapy for Alzheimer’s  is a decision that must focus on the person with the disease. The journeys of no two people with dementia are ever the same.   Behaviors and outcomes, and in this case, therapy success, are as individual as the person affected.

If your senior loved ones have difficulties to move around or do simple everyday things on their own, then Fawssit offers portable showers that’ll make their life a bit easier for their ease of us

Amazing Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar

benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar

Are you conscious about your health? Are you a vegetarian and loves to eat salad? Does your salad have an apple cider vinegar as an ingredient? And wonder what the benefits of apple cider vinegar are? Apple cider vinegar is always present in our kitchen. Always use in marinating meat, fish, chicken and even salad you use apple cider vinegar to have a great taste. Apple cider vinegar is also known as wonder vinegar. This sparkling clear apple cider vinegar placed in a bottle contains healthy benefits and can gain healing properties. What great news isn’t it?

On the other hand, the real apple cider vinegar is not as clear as you think. It is exactly opposite of the sparkling clear vinegar that you buy at any supermarket. The real apple cider vinegar contain organic and unfiltered and has brownish tinge on it. If you will look through it you may see like tiny cobweb floating. They call it “mother” meaning just one thing. This type of apple cider vinegar has its good quality of all the nutrients and giving properties together. Imagine, if manufacturers of apple cider vinegar will introduce it to the market with the tiny cobweb like floating and brown tinge on it as well as the unclear look, will you buy this? That is why manufacturers create a much more attraction to the public. They distil the vinegar and steamed to produce pure and sparkling clear vinegar. However, doing this steaming process almost destroy the healthy giving nutrients that apple cider vinegar has. Let us see the benefits of apple cider vinegar that can help you:

  • The vinegar has its vitamins, essential mineral, beta-carotene, and pectin like calcium, phosphorus, chlorine, iron, sulphur, fluorine, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Since apple cider vinegar is prepared from fresh ripe apples even it is fermented to process and have a final product.
  • Fiber contains in the vinegar also known as pectin aid and lessens the bad cholesterol and helps the blood pressure to regulate. Vinegar produces calcium and a good supplement as you grow old. Potassium is one of the benefits of apple cider vinegar. It helps to remove toxic waste to your body. And beta-carotene is another benefit of apple cider vinegar. It makes your skin firm and maintains the youthful looks to your body. And for those who lose weight, apple cider vinegar will help you to do this. It crashes the fats that help to reduce the natural weight.
  • Apple cider vinegar also helps to fight and bacterial and fungal infection because of it s malic acid.

Believe it or not, it can make all happen with the benefits of apple cider vinegar everything will count. So the next time you will be buying vinegar, make sure to have apple cider vinegar to your list. The “Wonder Drug” with sparkling clear and eye pleasing vinegar that you can have in a bottle.

Get inspiration from renowned cider companies, like Carolina Cider Company from South Carolina, to improve your recipe.

 

Stay healthy while eating pizza with this delicious recipe

steak-blue-chees-onion-yoghurt-pizza

Steak & Blue Cheese Onion & Yogurt Pizza Recipe

A new twist to the regular steak and blue cheese pizza, the yogurt is what makes it special. It may not be available at regular pizza outlets, but can be found at experimental pizzerias, or places where there is an option of personalizing the pizza with toppings. Nevertheless, one can definitely make this one at home, quite easily, either in a regular oven, or even in a microwave. Refer to Californo for quality oven options.

 

PREPARATION TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes

 

COOKING TIME: 20 minutes

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

For the dough:

  • 825 grams – White Flour
  • 500 ML – Tepid Water
  • 2 teaspoons – Salt
  • 14 grams – Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 TBSP – Brown Sugar

 

For the topping:

  • Grilled Steak – 175 grams
  • Vegetable Oil – 15 ML
  • Salt and Pepper – ¼ TSP each
  • One small onion – chopped
  • Sun-dried tomato pesto – 125 ML
  • Arugula leaves – 125 ML
  • Canadian Blue Cheese – 90g

 

PREPARATION:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients of the dough in a bowl, and add tepid water. Mix with a wooden spoon, and then knead the mixture with your hands. You can choose to knead it even on a floured surface.
  2. Leave the dough for around 1 hour. It will start rising after around 30 minutes.
  3. Once the dough is ready, take the steak and sprinkle it with half the salt and pepper. Grill it on medium, for about 8 minutes, then tent with foil on the cutting board, and let it stand for 5 minutes. Slice it thinly after that.
  4. Then brush the onion with 1 tsp of oil, and sprinkle the leftover salt and pepper. Add to grill, and close the lid. Grill it for 5 minutes, and turn it once if needed. Chop and keep aside.
  5. Then roll out the dough on a floured surface, in a 16 x 12 inch rectangle. Transfer to baking tray or pizza peel, and brush with oil. Place inside the grill, with the oiled side down. Grill for 3-6 minutes, till bubbles start forming, and watch carefully to avoid burning.
  6. Then slide out the pizza peel, flip the base, and cook it for around 1 minute.
  7. Transfer again to lightly floured pizza peel or inverted baking sheet, and put the heat to medium-low. Spread the pesto, and add onion, steak and blue cheese.
  8. Put again in the grill, and cook for 3-8 minutes, depending on how the color changes, and how the cheese melts. Again, keep a close watch to avoid from burning.
  9. Sprinkle arugula on top. Slice up well, and serve hot.

 

Soothing tea recipes

happy-young-woman-drinking-tea-on-her-couch-at-home

These are perfect recipes for a calm Sunday afternoon.

Honey Bee Surprise

This steeped tea is sweetened with honey plus a little sugar, and flavored with cinnamon.

Ingredients:

4 cups water
4 tsp honey
4 tea bags
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

Boil water in a pan; add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Steep 20 minutes before removing tea bags and serving.

Notes: The water must be boiling on low to be correct.

 

Number of Servings: 4 cups

Nana Renee’s Calico Tea

Brewed tea is poured into cups and a hard candy is dropped in, allowed to partially melt, and then milk is added.

Ingredients:

1 Tetley British Blend round tea bag (decaf for the kids, but, grown-ups like it too!)
1 cup boiling water
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup milk

Hard candy of your choice — butterscotch, cinnamon, mint, and choco-mint are all popular.

Method:
Bring water to a boil. Pour over the tea bag in one coffee cup. Let steep for two minutes; remove the tea bag and extract excess water. Divide tea into two cups; add 2 tsp. of sugar and one hard candy to each cup. Let sit an additional two minutes for candy to start melting. Add 1/4 milk to each cup to cool off.

Notes: I have been a tea drinker since childhood. My Mother, Irene, used to make me “Calico Tea” (English style) when we would sit and read together. My version, which I make for my grandchildren, lets the children decide what their extra flavor will be and there is the added bonus at the bottom of the cup of the hard candy that is not yet dissolved! Sometimes, when I want a more natural touch to the recipe, I add  tea from Glocal Markets.

Number of Servings: two

Spicy Milk Tea

Fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and jasmine tea make this a great pick me up or a soothing bedtime drink.

Ingredients:

4 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
4 thin slices fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 teaspoons jasmine tea
1 cup milk or half and half
Cardamon, optional
Honey
Mint sprigs for garnish

 

Method:
Bring water to a boil. Add cinnamon, cloves and ginger then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add tea and steep for a few minutes. Add milk, bring to boil again, then remove from heat. Strain with a tea strainer. Serve with a sprinkle of cardamon and a bit of honey. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Number of Servings: 4

 

Natural Sleeping Remedies – Stop Insomnia Without Sleeping Pills

Natural Sleeping Remedies - Stop Insomnia Without Sleeping Pills

Everyone has the occasional sleepless night where you just aren’t tired, something is playing on your mind or the neighbours are making way too much noise! But for people who suffer from insomnia a sleepless night is a regular and incredibly annoying occurrence.

Anyone who suffers from insomnia can of course try sleeping tablets. However, many people are wary of unnatural sleeping aids as they can be addictive, have unpleasant side effects and simply mask an actual underlying problem. So if you can’t sleep but don’t want to take sleeping pills why not try some of these natural sleeping remedies.

Herbal Sleeping Remedies

herbal sleeping remedies - lavender

Herbal sleeping remedies help aid sleep not just by calming and relaxing the physical body but also by creating a calming environment and relaxing the mind. Lavender can be found in many room sprays, scented candles and massage oils, all of which can create a relaxing environment and relax the body, which is ideal for a good night’s sleep.

herbal sleeping remedies

Other herbal sleeping remedies include chamomile, lemon verbena and lime flower. All of these can be found in specialist herbal teas, another product that actively relaxes the body for sleep and creates a calm atmosphere. Many people recommend hot milk for getting to sleep so why not hot, herbal tea!

Change Your Diet to Help Aid Sleep

foods that promote sleep

It may seem obvious to say but both caffeine and sugar can have adverse affects on sleeping patterns. Caffeine in coffee, soft drinks and chocolate bars can give the body too much unwanted energy, cause restlessness of mind and body and disrupt sleep. Meanwhile, too much sugar during the day can cause uneven blood sugar levels at night or a “come down” from a sugar high, resulting in poor sleep.

Alternatively, there are many foods that are good for sleep. Believe it or not, bananas are a fantastic sleeping aid. Bananas contain soothing serotonin and the muscle relaxant magnesium. A couple of bananas half an hour before you go to bed could be just the right natural sleeping remedy you need.

Other foods which are good for sleep include:

  • Turkey – Rich in the body’s natural sleep inducing chemical Tryptophan.
  • Almonds – Full of Tryptophan and Magnesium and quite yummy.
  • Dairy products – Try milk or cottage cheese as a sleeping aid (as long as you’re not lactose intolerant!).
  • Honey – A relaxing food product that is especially good for sleep when mixed with lemon in hot water.
  • Potatoes – Can help cleanse the body of sleep preventing acids.

lifestyle changes that aid sleepLifestyle Changes That Can Help Aid Sleep

A simple, regular bedtime routine can be a very effective natural sleep remedy. Going to bed at the same time every night, doing the same cleaning routine before hand or reading for the same amount of time etc. can be a great way to naturally regulate the bodies sleeping pattern.

Another natural sleeping remedy in terms of lifestyle is literally exhausting the body! Insomnia can be caused by either too much physical energy or too much mental energy. If you have a physically strenuous lifestyle but not mentally strenuous lifestyle, try reading every night before bed to exhaust the mind. However, if it is the other way around, try exhausting the body with regular exercise.

Natural Sleeping Remedies

So there you have it, why not try some of these natural sleeping remedies to help tackle insomnia and restless nights. All of these techniques are quick, easy to do and mean you can get to sleep without having to use unnatural sleeping tablets.

Get Shredded in Six Weeks! The Problem with Extreme Male Body Transformations

Men’s Health magazine has transformed many men – and its own fortunes – by featuring extreme muscle makeovers. But does changing shape fast have a dark side?

In 2004, Men’s Health journalist Dan Rookwood walked into his editor’s office in a funk. The topless beefcakes who appeared on their covers were unrealistic, he had decided. No one actually looked like that – not least the staff of what was then the UK’s third-biggest-selling men’s magazine. His editor smiled. He felt a feature coming on.

Just over a year later, a smirking Rookwood appeared on the March 2006 cover of Men’s Health. His biceps were huge, his six-pack extraordinarily well defined. “From fat to flat!” read the cover line, alongside a picture of a mournful-looking Rookwood, pre-transformation, his belly soft and rounded. It became the biggest-selling Men’s Health issue of all time.

The transformation genre of men’s magazine cover stories was born. Since then, they have become the bread and butter (or steamed spinach and chicken breast) of these publications. Pick up a copy of Men’s Health every six months or so and you will see a topless staffer grinning for the camera, next to the words “Get shredded in six weeks!” or “From scrawny to brawny!”

In difficult times for print publishing, Men’s Health and its competitors hit upon a monetizable formula. Across the country, podgy dads and harried office workers dreamed of having the perfect physique. Makeover transformations promised the body they longed for – typically within eight to 12 weeks.

Aziz Sikdar‘I’d binge a lot, completely overeat, then starve myself out of guilt’ … Aziz Sikdar, who became fixated on bulking up after gaining weight at the university. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

A cottage industry whirred into action. You can join the Men’s Health Transform Club or purchase a copy of the Men’s Fitness 12 Week Body Plan. The message is clear: ditch the carbs, start deadlifting, and you too can upgrade your dad bod to the crisply defined torso of a Hollywood hunk.

But getting shredded takes serious graft. “It’s quite a drastic lifestyle change,” says former Men’s Health journalist (and January 2017 cover star) Tom Ward. The hardest part was giving up his favorite sugary foods. “I’ve got a real sweet tooth, and I eat ice-cream all the time, so towards the end, I was Googling videos of people making cakes and dreaming of what I’d eat.”

“It’s 80% about nutrition,” agrees his former colleague Mark Sansom, who ended the challenge with 48cm (19in) biceps. Eating four portions of microwaved fish a day took its toll. “You’d be forcing it down. It wasn’t enjoyable.” Avoiding alcohol – the nemesis of defined torsos everywhere – was difficult, too. “You realize how much British life is arranged around booze,” says Jon Lipsey, the Men’s Fitness cover star for May 2018.

“I wanted to prove to the readers that the cover lines we preach at Men’s Health are possible,” Sansom says. “We’re normal guys.” But how normal? All were given personal trainers, and Ward’s editor allowed him time off work to train.

Cover model transformations are not snake oil – they do work, provided you are a staff journalist at a magazine with access to high-end trainers, a sympathetic boss and the time to spend hours meal-prepping protein-based meals.

While the Men’s Health cover body may be attainable, most people are not able to maintain the necessary lifestyle once the challenge is over. “For me, the diet was not sustainable long-term, whereas the training has been,” says Rookwood. He is conflicted about his role in creating the genre of cover transformation stories. “It was just a bit of fun,” Rookwood says. “Something to tell the grandkids; maybe frames in the downstairs loo someday.”

Tom Ward‘It’s quite a drastic lifestyle change’ … the results of Tom Ward’s regime for Men’s Health. Photograph: Tom Ward

The Men’s Health team did more than shift magazines: they ushered in a protein-blasted physical aesthetic. In this new paradigm of masculine excellence, anyone can achieve physical perfection if they put in the hours. It is an aspirational narrative, accompanied by a specific vernacular. Men are hench, whammo or tonk. A good soldier never forgets leg day.

Our physical ideals change according to the times in which we live. The 80s masculine ideal was typified by action heroes such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, while scrawny, beer-drinking lads dominated the 90s. “The idealized body image is highly muscular right now,” says Dr. Stuart Murray, a psychologist who specializes in muscle dysmorphia in men. What distinguishes this ideal from that of the 80s is a preoccupation with maintaining a single-digit body-fat percentage to better display one’s muscularity.

Whereas the vest-wearing action stars of the 80s needed physical strength to hook themselves into lift shafts and avert terrorism, today’s uber-tonk males wear their six-packs like beautiful, pointless feathers: this is a cosmetic muscularity, rather than a functional one. Its most prominent brand ambassadors are, of course, the preening and tensing men of Love Island, who are effectively one giant regional gym made flesh.

The emergence of this physical ideal is linked to the death of lad culture. “Magazines are reflectors of society,” says Simon Das, a lecturer in journalism at London College of Communication. “Magazines such as Nuts and Zoo were out of kilter with the new generation of men coming through.” As the lad’s mags were counted out, health-focused publications absorbed their readerships, with Men’s Health overtaking FHM’s sales in 2009. Men’s Health remains the biggest paid-for magazine in the men’s lifestyle sector, with a circulation of 175,683 at the end of 2017.

Men’s magazines reflect and reinforce the cultural zeitgeist. Young men today are interested in “wellbeing and fitness and looking good,” Das says. “So this is reflected in the editorial interests of magazines oriented at guys.”

Men’s magazines alone did not give rise to this new ideal; there were other factors. Gym going became democratized, with chains such as PureGym(which opened in 2009) and Fitness4Less (founded in 2010) bringing affordable membership to the masses. The pursuit of fitness accrued social capital, with streaming sites such as YouTube making celebrities of personal trainer Joe Wicks and fitness gurus The Hodgetwins. Some argue that the financial crisis created the gym bro: as traditional routes to success were eroded, men fell back on their bodies as a means of feeling valuable to society. Concurrently, young people stopped drinking as much.

You may think: what is the harm in counting reps on a chest press? But the masculine frame we fetishize today can be as pernicious as the uber-thin supermodels we typically condemn for perpetuating unrealistic body ideals.

Aziz Sikdar, 29, became unhappy with his body after gaining weight at the university. He turned to YouTube channels including Athlean-X and Yo Elliott, as well as Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness. “I’d look at YouTube channels and magazines so much that bodies of that type seemed the norm to me and I felt like I was lacking.”

Sikdar tried a few cover-story plans. “Generally, they weren’t very effective. While their diet tips were helpful, I didn’t get much from the workouts themselves,” he says. “They’d recommend something one month and then, a couple of months later, tell you the complete opposite.”

Rapidly, Sikdar developed an “unhealthy” relationship with food. “I always had to know the breakdown of what I was eating,” he says. “I’d binge a lot, completely overeat, then starve myself out of guilt.” Once, he ate at McDonald’s eight times in a five-day period.

Because nutrition is essential to achieving the cosmetic muscularity that is in vogue, those predisposed to disordered eating can adopt worrying behaviors. “Diet is imperative to get the sort of results these men are working towards,” says Sam Thomas of the charity Men Get Eating Disorders Too. “That can become a focus in itself and spiral.” Even men who appear in prime health can be in the grip of a devastating illness linked to their desire to achieve a more muscular goal.

As eating disorder services tend to be designed for women, male sufferers can be overlooked. Only one in 10 patients who seek help for eating disorders are men, despite the fact that men are as likely as women to suffer. Clinicians are trained to look for emaciation, despite the fact that many sufferers are not underweight, particularly if they are packing on muscle at the gym. “Another complication is that these guys are coming from gyms where there is a ‘no pain, no gain’ ethos, which means they’re socialized into thinking it’s OK to forgo important parts of their lives in the service of this muscularity,” says Murray. “They don’t see it as a problem.”

“My mental state became a complete mess,” says Sikdar. “The gym and my body seemed to be one place I had some control and was succeeding.”

Murray says that men work out to elevate their standing among other men, not women. “A compliment from a man is worth more than a compliment from a woman because males have more credibility in affirming other males.”

After a month spent learning Muay Thai in Thailand, Tom Usher, 30, felt himself change. “I wasn’t scared of anyone,” he muses. “When you look Chung physically, you feel Chung – and that confidence translates into how you act around women, but also men. It plays to some kind of physical superiority thing that men like to have over other men, regardless of whether they know about it consciously or not.”

Although Murray does not believe the media causes eating disorders, he says it creates the powerful social comparisons that Usher and Sikdar experienced. “Exposure to these images gives positive connotations of what it means to be highly muscular for males,” he says. “This almost always induces a profound body dissatisfaction that results in compensatory efforts to try and increase one’s muscularity.” Individuals can end up in a dangerous cycle of overexercising and restricted eating.

Why is it that we condemn women’s magazines for including weight-loss tips, but men’s magazines escape our censure? Both say: you are not OK as you are. You should change. Both perpetuate body ideals that, despite what they may claim, are not practicably achievable by everyone.

“There’s no set manual that every man can use to get the same results,” says Thomas. “Not every man can get the desired result within six weeks. You can do the same workout as other men, and you won’t get the same result.” Some may feel cheated and go to extreme lengths to get the result they were “promised.” These measures can be harmless: protein bars or creatine shakes. But not always.

As it is very difficult to have an abnormally pumped, low-body-fat physique without chemical help, experts link today’s cosmetic muscularity to substance abuse.

“I was definitely tempted by steroids,” says Sikdar. He is not alone. Steroid abuse is on the rise, with an estimated 1 million users in the UK. In 2015, reality star Spencer Matthews admitted to a secret steroid addiction fuelled by “vanity.” Matthews is one of the lucky ones: many do not survive steroid addiction. Dean Wharmby, a bodybuilder from Rochdale, died of liver cancer induced by his misuse of anabolic steroids in 2015. Cult Australian bodybuilder Aziz Shavershian, known as Zyzz, was the poster boy for a muscularity-oriented lifestyle, posting his workouts online to thousands of followers. In 2011, he died in a sauna in Thailand at the age of 22. After his death, it emerged that Shavershian had been taking clenbuterol, which can induce cardiac arrhythmia.

What makes men die pursuing a cosmetic goal? “Being big was what everyone knew Dean for,” Wharmby’s partner Charlotte Rigby said after his death.

Murray says: “You generate this wonderful physique and get lots of compliments and then the fear of not maintaining this physique becomes powerful. It becomes your primary identity. That leads to some of the extreme lengths these guys go to.”

Of course, not everyone who tries to get shredded becomes unhealthy. Most will get in shape for a while, then slip back. Gym memberships go unused. Magazine subscriptions expire. Perhaps it will not all be for nothing: they will eat more healthily or exercise more often.

After his cover shoot, Ward went on holiday with his girlfriend. It was nice being on the beach and not feeling self-conscious about his body. But life got in the way of training. He is unaffected by the loss of his former physique. “I feel good about myself sitting on the beach now with my dog, even if I’m a bit fat.”

Sansom has put on a “fair bit of weight” since his cover shoot. Like Ward, he is relaxed about it. Browsing WH Smith recently, Sansom was confronted by his former glory: Men’s Health had reused his body on the cover of a transformation manual. “I looked down and thought: I’ve kind of let myself go,” he laughs. “But I’m only two or three months away from getting back into good nick.”