Yoga and Meditation can Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Catherine Winters & J.D. King- Problem Solved! Anxiety- Prevention,
Hour-long yoga sessions three times a week improved people’s moods and anxiety levels after 12 weeks in one study. The level of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), an amino acid in the brain, is lower in people who report anxiety. Among study participants who took a yoga class, GABA levels increased and reports of anxiety decreased after the session. Yoga’s deep breathing “stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with the ability to relax,” says Chris C. Streeter, MD, an associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine.
In anxious people, ‘we see a deactivation in areas of the brain that govern thought,’ so worries can spiral out of control, says Fadel Zeidan, PhD, a research fellow at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Mindfulness meditation helps you stop the cycle of worry. In Dr. Zeidan’s study, anxiety levels of meditators eased by up to 39%. (Winters & King, 2013, p. 62-66)
Yoga and Meditation can Reduce Depression.
Cary Barbor- The Science of Meditation- Psychology Today
Recent research indicates that meditating brings about dramatic effects in as little as a 10- minute session; several studies have demonstrated that subjects who meditated for a short period of time showed increased alpha waves (the relaxed brain waves) and decreased anxiety and depression.
…Researches at Harvard Medical School used MRI technology on participants to monitor brain activity while they meditated. They found that it activates the sections of the brain in charge of the autonomic nervous system, which governs the functions in our bodies that we can’t control, such as digestion and blood pressure. These are also the functions that are often compromised by stress. (Barbor, 2001, p. 54-59. 5p)
Yoga and Meditation can Aid in Pain Management and IBS symptoms
Christina Boufis- Escape from Pain- Natural Health
In a groundbreaking 2005 study, subjects watched their own fMRI brain scans and experienced how peaceful thoughts caused the pain centers of the brain to calm down. ‘It’s like turning down the amplifier on a stereo,’ says Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the division of pain management at Stanford University. ‘The input is the same, but your experience of pain is turned down.’
Ronald Glick, M.D., medical director at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, agrees. ‘Pain is part of our fight-or-flight response, and mind-body approaches like paced breathing — which is commonly used during childbirth — slows down the heart, lowers blood pressure, and relaxes the response to pain.’ (Boufis, 2009, p. 50-61. 7p)
Catherine Winters- On The Healing Edge- Prevention
Meditation a Path to Pain-Free Living
Some 116 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and millions more live with the debilitating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Traditional treatments bring too few lasting results. But two studies point to a surprising new path to relief: the practice of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation operates on a simple principle. “You focus on being in the present, not on your worries,” says Susan A. Gaylord, PhD, director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress and Pain Management Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who led the IBS study, which was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. When the women she studied applied mindfulness meditation to the diet and lifestyle strategies they were already using to control their IBS, the severity of their symptoms was slashed by 26%.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, mindfulness meditation had equally dramatic effects on reducing pain. Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine found that it cut pain intensity by 40%–in some people, by up to 70%!–compared with about 25% for morphine and other pain relievers. “I was surprised by the dramatic results,” says study leader Fadel Zeidan, PhD. (Winters, 2011, p. 88-95, 5p)
Yoga and Meditation is Good For the Heart
Yoga Heart-Healthy Poses
Yoga may decrease sudden surges in the autonomic nervous system, which controls heart rate, respiration, and other functions, preventing A-fib triggers. “While we don’t know enough yet to suggest that yoga replace medication, it’s a good complementary treatment,” says Dr. Lakkireddy. (Winters, 2011, 88-95, 5p)
Yoga and Meditation can Aid in Cancer Recovery
Karyn-Hede- Supportive Care: Large Studies Ease Yoga, Exercise Into Mainstream Oncology- JNCI- Oxford Journal
A recent nationwide, multisite, phase II/III randomized controlled clinical trial examined the use of yoga to improve symptom management among 410 cancer survivors. It showed a statistically significant improvement in sleep (22% vs. 12%) and fatigue (42% vs. 12%) after 4 weeks of yoga versus usual care. The study, presented by principal investigator Karen Mustian, Ph.D., at the 2010 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, was the first large study to show clinical benefit to patients. What’s more, the patients in the 4-week-yoga arm reported a drop in use of sleep medication, whereas the control arm showed a slight increase. (Hede, 2010, para. 7)