Improve Physical and Mental Well-Being in the Elderly with Yoga

Improve Physical and Mental Well-Being in the Elderly with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga is incredible for an older population to help them maintain their balance, keep their joints flexible, maintain bone health and muscle mass, as well as learn how to cope with their mental state as they witness their bodies aging. Yoga is great for focus, concentration, and emotional wellbeing. Seniors can benefit tremendously from the practice and it gives them a place to quiet their mind and start to slow down in life.” – Kristin McGee

We celebrate the increasing longevity of the population. But aging is a mixed blessing. The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline of the body and the brain. Every system in the body deteriorates including motor function with a decline in strength, flexibility, and balance. It is inevitable. In addition, many elderly experience withdrawal and isolation from social interactions and depression. There is some hope as there is evidence that these declines can be slowed. For example, a healthy diet and a regular program of exercise can slow the physical decline of the body with aging. Also, contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi or qigong have all been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline.

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of benefits for psychological and physical health. It is both an exercise and a mind-body practice that stresses both mental attention to present moment movements, breath control, and flexibility, range of motion, and balance. It has been shown to improve balance and flexibility in older individuals.  It is safe and can be practiced by anyone from children to seniors. Recently, there have been a number of high profile athletes who have adopted a yoga practice to improve their athletic performance. But it is not known whether yoga practice is as good as traditional exercise programs in improving the overall functional fitness of sedentary older adults and slow the age related physical decline.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effects of yoga compared to active and inactive controls on physical function and health related quality of life in older adults- systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6451238/), Sivaramakrishnan and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of yoga practice for the well-being of aging individuals. They identified 22 randomized controlled trials of yoga practice effects on the physical function and health related quality of life in older (> 60 years) individuals.

 

They report that the research literature found that yoga practice in comparison to both active and inactive controls produced significant improvements in physical function including lower limb strength and lower body flexibility. In comparison to inactive controls yoga practice also produced a significant improvement in balance. Additionally, they report that yoga practice in comparison to both active and inactive controls produced significant improvement in depression levels. In comparison to inactive controls yoga practice also produced significant improvements in perceived mental health, perceived physical health, sleep quality, and vitality.

 

In looking at the research findings in general, it appears that yoga practice has significant benefits for older adults for physical and mental health. The benefits appear the greatest when yoga practice is compared to no activity, but are still present but to a lesser extent when compared to individuals practicing other activities such as walking, Tai Chi, or stretching exercises. Hence, it appears that many of the benefits of yoga practice are due to the exercise provided by yoga rather than the mind-body components of the practice.

 

But yoga practice still has some important benefits in comparison to older individuals engaging in other activities. These benefits would appear to be independent of the exercise and are likely due to the contemplative practice provided by yoga. The antidepressant effects are particularly important as depression is a major problem for the elderly. The improvements in strength and flexibility are also important as these physical abilities deteriorate with aging and contribute to musculoskeletal problems.

 

The current research literature findings, the, suggest that yoga may be an excellent practice for the slowing of age-related decline. It would appear to be superior to many other activities and should be routinely recommended for physical and mental health of the elderly.

 

So, improve physical and mental well-being in the elderly with Yoga.

 

The research on yoga is preliminary, however, initial studies have found a yoga practice to positively correlate with both physical and mental wellness. It’s uncontroversial that yoga can improve strength, flexibility, and endurance, but studies have also found that regular practice may help: Lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, Recovery from strokes and surgery, prevent falls, manage arthritis, pain and inflammation, manage diabetes, manage digestive issues like IBS, improve sleep quality, facilitate the grieving process, and manage depression and anxiety.” – Yoga for Seniors

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sivaramakrishnan, D., Fitzsimons, C., Kelly, P., Ludwig, K., Mutrie, N., Saunders, D. H., & Baker, G. (2019). The effects of yoga compared to active and inactive controls on physical function and health related quality of life in older adults- systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 16(1), 33. doi:10.1186/s12966-019-0789-2

 

Abstract

Background

Yoga has been recommended as a muscle strengthening and balance activity in national and global physical activity guidelines. However, the evidence base establishing the effectiveness of yoga in improving physical function and health related quality of life (HRQoL) in an older adult population not recruited on the basis of any specific disease or condition, has not been systematically reviewed. The objective of this study was to synthesise existing evidence on the effects of yoga on physical function and HRQoL in older adults not characterised by any specific clinical condition.

Methods

The following databases were systematically searched in September 2017: MEDLINE, PsycInfo, CINAHL Plus, Scopus, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus, AMED and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. Study inclusion criteria: Older adult participants with mean age of 60 years and above, not recruited on the basis of any specific disease or condition; yoga intervention compared with inactive controls (example: wait-list control, education booklets) or active controls (example: walking, chair aerobics); physical function and HRQoL outcomes; and randomised/cluster randomised controlled trials published in English. A vote counting analysis and meta-analysis with standardised effect sizes (Hedges’ g) computed using random effects models were conducted.

Results

A total of 27 records from 22 RCTs were included (17 RCTs assessed physical function and 20 assessed HRQoL). The meta-analysis revealed significant effects (5% level of significance) favouring the yoga group for the following physical function outcomes compared with inactive controls: balance (effect size (ES) = 0.7), lower body flexibility (ES = 0.5), lower limb strength (ES = 0.45); compared with active controls: lower limb strength (ES = 0.49), lower body flexibility (ES = 0.28). For HRQoL, significant effects favouring yoga were found compared to inactive controls for: depression (ES = 0.64), perceived mental health (ES = 0.6), perceived physical health (ES = 0.61), sleep quality (ES = 0.65), and vitality (ES = 0.31); compared to active controls: depression (ES = 0.54).

Conclusion

This review is the first to compare the effects of yoga with active and inactive controls in older adults not characterised by a specific clinical condition. Results indicate that yoga interventions improve multiple physical function and HRQoL outcomes in this population compared to both control conditions. This study provides robust evidence for promoting yoga in physical activity guidelines for older adults as a multimodal activity that improves aspects of fitness like strength, balance and flexibility, as well as mental wellbeing.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6451238/

 

Improve Symptoms and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients with Yoga

Improve Symptoms and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Studies have shown mindfulness-based stress reduction can be effective in alleviating anxiety and depression, decreasing long-term emotional and physical side effects of treatments and improving the quality of sleep in breast cancer patients.” – Breast Cancer Research Foundation

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including fatiguestress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. Yoga practice is a form of mindfulness training that is also an exercise that has been shown to be beneficial for cancer patients. The research on yoga practice as a treatment for patients recovering from breast cancer has been accumulating. It is thus important to take a step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga for improving health-related quality of life, mental health and cancer-related symptoms in women diagnosed with breast cancer.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465041/), Cramer and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of yoga practice as a treatment for patients recovering from breast cancer. They identified 24 published research studies, 17 of which compared yoga practice to no-treatment, while 4 compared it to a psychoeducation program while 3 compared it to another exercise.

 

They found that the published research reports that in comparison to no-treatment yoga practice significantly improves health related quality of life and reduces fatigue and disturbance of sleep in women recovering from breast cancer. When compared to psychoeducation programs (4 studies), yoga practice had additional significant reductions of anxiety and depression. But, when compared to other exercise programs (3 studies), no significant effects were reported.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that yoga practice is a safe and effective treatment for women recovering from breast cancer, improving their quality of life and physical and mental well-being. The fact that these benefits were not significantly different from other forms of exercise suggests that the it’s the exercise provided by yoga that is the important aspect of the practice producing the benefits. Regardless, it is clear that yoga practice is quite helpful for the well-being of women recovering from breast cancer.

 

So, improve symptoms and quality of life in breast cancer patients with yoga.

 

“Results show promise for mindfulness-based interventions to treat common psychological problems such as anxiety, stress, and depression in cancer survivors and to improve overall quality of life.” — Linda E. Carlson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Klose, P., Lange, S., Langhorst, J., & Dobos, G. J. (2017). Yoga for improving health-related quality of life, mental health and cancer-related symptoms in women diagnosed with breast cancer. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 1(1), CD010802. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010802.pub2

 

Abstract

Background

Breast cancer is the cancer most frequently diagnosed in women worldwide. Even though survival rates are continually increasing, breast cancer is often associated with long‐term psychological distress, chronic pain, fatigue and impaired quality of life. Yoga comprises advice for an ethical lifestyle, spiritual practice, physical activity, breathing exercises and meditation. It is a complementary therapy that is commonly recommended for breast cancer‐related impairments and has been shown to improve physical and mental health in people with different cancer types.

Objectives

To assess effects of yoga on health‐related quality of life, mental health and cancer‐related symptoms among women with a diagnosis of breast cancer who are receiving active treatment or have completed treatment.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Breast Cancer Specialised Register, MEDLINE (via PubMed), Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2016, Issue 1), Indexing of Indian Medical Journals (IndMED), the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) search portal and Clinicaltrials.gov on 29 January 2016. We also searched reference lists of identified relevant trials or reviews, as well as conference proceedings of the International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research (ICCMR), the European Congress for Integrative Medicine (ECIM) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). We applied no language restrictions.

Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials were eligible when they (1) compared yoga interventions versus no therapy or versus any other active therapy in women with a diagnosis of non‐metastatic or metastatic breast cancer, and (2) assessed at least one of the primary outcomes on patient‐reported instruments, including health‐related quality of life, depression, anxiety, fatigue or sleep disturbances.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors independently collected data on methods and results. We expressed outcomes as standardised mean differences (SMDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and conducted random‐effects model meta‐analyses. We assessed potential risk of publication bias through visual analysis of funnel plot symmetry and heterogeneity between studies by using the Chi2 test and the I2 statistic. We conducted subgroup analyses for current treatment status, time since diagnosis, stage of cancer and type of yoga intervention.

Main results

We included 24 studies with a total of 2166 participants, 23 of which provided data for meta‐analysis. Thirteen studies had low risk of selection bias, five studies reported adequate blinding of outcome assessment and 15 studies had low risk of attrition bias.

Seventeen studies that compared yoga versus no therapy provided moderate‐quality evidence showing that yoga improved health‐related quality of life (pooled SMD 0.22, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.40; 10 studies, 675 participants), reduced fatigue (pooled SMD ‐0.48, 95% CI ‐0.75 to ‐0.20; 11 studies, 883 participants) and reduced sleep disturbances in the short term (pooled SMD ‐0.25, 95% CI ‐0.40 to ‐0.09; six studies, 657 participants). The funnel plot for health‐related quality of life was asymmetrical, favouring no therapy, and the funnel plot for fatigue was roughly symmetrical. This hints at overall low risk of publication bias. Yoga did not appear to reduce depression (pooled SMD ‐0.13, 95% CI ‐0.31 to 0.05; seven studies, 496 participants; low‐quality evidence) or anxiety (pooled SMD ‐0.53, 95% CI ‐1.10 to 0.04; six studies, 346 participants; very low‐quality evidence) in the short term and had no medium‐term effects on health‐related quality of life (pooled SMD 0.10, 95% CI ‐0.23 to 0.42; two studies, 146 participants; low‐quality evidence) or fatigue (pooled SMD ‐0.04, 95% CI ‐0.36 to 0.29; two studies, 146 participants; low‐quality evidence). Investigators reported no serious adverse events.

Four studies that compared yoga versus psychosocial/educational interventions provided moderate‐quality evidence indicating that yoga can reduce depression (pooled SMD ‐2.29, 95% CI ‐3.97 to ‐0.61; four studies, 226 participants), anxiety (pooled SMD ‐2.21, 95% CI ‐3.90 to ‐0.52; three studies, 195 participants) and fatigue (pooled SMD ‐0.90, 95% CI ‐1.31 to ‐0.50; two studies, 106 participants) in the short term. Very low‐quality evidence showed no short‐term effects on health‐related quality of life (pooled SMD 0.81, 95% CI ‐0.50 to 2.12; two studies, 153 participants) or sleep disturbances (pooled SMD ‐0.21, 95% CI ‐0.76 to 0.34; two studies, 119 participants). No trial adequately reported safety‐related data.

Three studies that compared yoga versus exercise presented very low‐quality evidence showing no short‐term effects on health‐related quality of life (pooled SMD ‐0.04, 95% CI ‐0.30 to 0.23; three studies, 233 participants) or fatigue (pooled SMD ‐0.21, 95% CI ‐0.66 to 0.25; three studies, 233 participants); no trial provided safety‐related data.

Authors’ conclusions

Moderate‐quality evidence supports the recommendation of yoga as a supportive intervention for improving health‐related quality of life and reducing fatigue and sleep disturbances when compared with no therapy, as well as for reducing depression, anxiety and fatigue, when compared with psychosocial/educational interventions. Very low‐quality evidence suggests that yoga might be as effective as other exercise interventions and might be used as an alternative to other exercise programmes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465041/

 

Improve Attention and Hyperactivity in Kindergarten Children with Yoga

Improve Attention and Hyperactivity in Kindergarten Children with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga is a systematic workout regimen that has rejuvenating and calming effects on our body and mind. Young kids go through conflicting emotions, and yoga helps calm them down. They are also extremely flexible and therefore, a practice like yoga will help them contort their bodies in different ways.” – Shirin Mehdi

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a large number of beneficial effects on the psychological, emotional, and physical health of the individual and is helpful in the treatment of mental and physical illness. The acceptance of yoga practice has spread from the home and yoga studios to its application with children in schools. Studies of these school programs have found that yoga practice produces a wide variety of positive psychosocial and physical benefits.

 

Teachers also note improvements in their students following yoga practice. These include improved classroom behavior and social–emotional skills, concentration, mood, ability to function under pressure, social skills, and attention and lower levels of hyperactivity. In addition, school records, academic tests have shown that yoga practice produces improvements in student grades and academic performance. This, in turn, improves the classroom experience for the teachers. Hence there are very good reasons to further study the effects of yoga practice early in children’s schooling; kindergarten.

 

In today’s Research News article “12 Weeks of Kindergarten-Based Yoga Practice Increases Visual Attention, Visual-Motor Precision and Decreases Behavior of Inattention and Hyperactivity in 5-Year-Old Children.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00796/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_963174_69_Psycho_20190416_arts_A), Jarraya and colleagues recruited kindergarten students and randomly assigned them to either practice yoga, normal physical education, or no treatment control. Yoga and Physical Education occurred twice per week for 30 minutes for 12 weeks. The Hatha yoga practice included postures and breathing exercises. The children were measured by their kindergarten teacher before and after the treatments for visual attention, visuomotor precision, inattention, and hyperactivity/impulsivity.

 

They found that in comparison to PE and control children, the children who practiced yoga had significantly improved visual attention and visuomotor precision, and significantly lower inattention, and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Visuomotor precision is a measure of cognitive function and includes measures of language, memory and learning, sensorimotor, social perception, and visuospatial processing. Hence, yoga practice improved attention, behavioral control, and higher-level thinking in the kindergarten children.

 

These are exciting results that are similar to those observed with older children. The abilities observed to have improved in the kindergarten children who practiced yoga are abilities that are essential for school performance. Attention is a key ability and that along with an additional reduction in hyperactivity sets the stage for learning. Then improved cognitive ability further heightens learning ability. This suggests that yoga practice has large benefits and should be recommended for young children to promote their ability to learn and perform in school.

 

So, improve attention and hyperactivity in kindergarten children with yoga.

 

“It sounds kind of goofy to people who don’t work with little kids, but kids that have a weak core have a hard time sitting still, and that can look like they’re not paying attention. Those are the kinds of mind-body connections you don’t think about until you start looking into it.” – Chas Zelinsky

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Jarraya S, Wagner M, Jarraya M and Engel FA (2019) 12 Weeks of Kindergarten-Based Yoga Practice Increases Visual Attention, Visual-Motor Precision and Decreases Behavior of Inattention and Hyperactivity in 5-Year-Old Children. Front. Psychol. 10:796. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00796

 

The present study assesses the impact of Kindergarten-based yoga on cognitive performance, visual-motor coordination, and behavior of inattention and hyperactivity in 5-year-old children. In this randomized controlled trial, 45 children (28 female; 17 male; 5.2 ± 0.4 years) participated. Over 12 weeks, 15 children performed Hatha-yoga twice a week for 30 min, another 15 children performed generic physical education (PE) twice a week for 30 min, and 15 children performed no kind of physical activities, serving as control group (CG). Prior to (T0) and after 12 weeks (T1), all participants completed Visual Attention and Visuomotor Precision subtests of Neuropsychological Evaluation Battery and teachers evaluated children’s behavior of inattention and hyperactivity with the Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Rating Scale-IV. At T0, no significant differences between groups appeared. Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed that following Bonferroni–Holm corrections yoga, in comparison to PE and CG, had a significant positive impact on the development on behavior of inattention and hyperactivity. Further, yoga has a significant positive impact on completion times in two visumotor precision tasks in comparison to PE. Finally, results indicate a significant positive effect of yoga on visual attention scores in comparison to CG. 12 weeks of Kindergarten-based yoga improves selected visual attention and visual-motor precision parameters and decreases behavior of inattention and hyperactivity in 5-year-old children. Consequently, yoga represents a sufficient and cost-benefit effective exercise which could enhance cognitive and behavioral factors relevant for learning and academic achievement among young children.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00796/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_963174_69_Psycho_20190416_arts_A

 

Relieve Low Back Pain with Yoga

Relieve Low Back Pain with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“reductions in disability and pain intensity were found despite the reductions in opioid use and other medical and self-help pain treatments at six months. The trial confirms the findings of two prior randomized controlled trials with non-veterans showing that yoga is safe and can reduce pain and disability among adults with chronic low back pain.” – National Pain

 

Low Back Pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and affects between 6% to 15% of the population. It is estimated, however, that 80% of the population will experience back pain sometime during their lives. But active military and veterans have a higher rate than the general population. There are varied treatments for low back pain including chiropractic care, acupuncture, biofeedback, physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, massage, surgery, opiate pain killing drugs, steroid injections, and muscle relaxant drugs. These therapies are sometimes effective particularly for acute back pain. But, for chronic conditions the treatments are less effective and often require continuing treatment for years and opiate pain killers are dangerous and can lead to abuse, addiction, and fatal overdoses. Obviously, there is a need for safe and effective treatments for low back pain that are low cost and don’t have troublesome side effects.

 

Pain involves both physical and psychological issues. The stress, fear, and anxiety produced by pain tends to elicit responses that actually amplify the pain. So, reducing the emotional reactions to pain may be helpful in pain management. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve emotion regulation producing more adaptive and less maladaptive responses to emotions. Indeed, mindfulness practices are effective in treating pain and have been shown to be safe and effective in the management of low back painYoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of health benefits. These include relief of chronic painYoga practice has also been shown to be effective for the relief of chronic low-back pain.  Many forms of yoga focus on the proper alignment of the spine, which could directly address the source of back and neck pain for many individuals. So, it makes sense to further explore the effectiveness of yoga practice for chronic low back pain in military veterans.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga for Military Veterans with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6399016/), Groessl and colleagues recruited military veterans with chronic low back pain and randomly assigned them to receive either 12 weeks, twice a week, 60-minutes of hatha yoga practice or to a wait-list control condition. Yoga practice consisted of postures, breathing practice, and focused meditation. They were measured for back-specific functional limitations, pain intensity, and medication use before and after treatment and 3 months later.

 

They found that the veterans who practiced yoga had decreases in functional limitations due to back pain and pain intensity that were significant 3 months after the end of formal yoga practice. Opiate use declined over the trial period, but this was true for both yoga and control groups. Hence, yoga practice was found to be a safe, effective, and lasting treatment for back pain and disability in military veterans who have high rates of chronic low back pain. These results are similar to those seen in other groups of patients suffering from chronic low-back pain. It would be interesting in future research to compare yoga practice to other forms of exercise in relieving back-related disability and pain in a similar group.

 

So, relieve low back pain with yoga.

 

By demonstrating that yoga is an evidence-based treatment for cLBP in military veterans, complementary and integrative health researchers and [Veterans Affairs] administrators are in a position to begin implementing yoga programs more formally,” – Erik Groessl

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Groessl, E. J., Liu, L., Chang, D. G., Wetherell, J. L., Bormann, J. E., Atkinson, J. H., … Schmalzl, L. (2017). Yoga for Military Veterans with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial. American journal of preventive medicine, 53(5), 599–608. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2017.05.019

 

Abstract

Introduction:

Chronic low back pain (cLBP) is prevalent, especially among military veterans. Many cLBP treatment options have limited benefits and are accompanied by side effects. Major efforts to reduce opioid use and embrace nonpharmacological pain treatments have resulted. Research with community cLBP patients indicates that yoga can improve health outcomes and has few side effects. The benefits of yoga among military veterans were examined.

Design:

Participants were randomized to either yoga or delayed yoga treatment in 2013–2015. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 6 months. Intention-to-treat analyses occurred in 2016.

Setting/Participants:

One hundred and fifty military veterans with cLBP were recruited from a major Veterans Affairs Medical Center in California.

Intervention:

Yoga classes (with home practice) were led by a certified instructor twice weekly for 12 weeks, and consisted primarily of physical postures, movement, and breathing techniques.

Main outcome measures:

The primary outcome was Roland–Morris Disability Questionnaire scores after 12 weeks. Pain intensity was identified as an important secondary outcome.

Results:

Participant characteristics were mean age 53 years, 26% were female, 35% were unemployed or disabled, and mean back pain duration was 15 years. Improvements in Roland–Morris Disability Questionnaire scores did not differ between the two groups at 12 weeks, but yoga participants had greater reductions in Roland–Morris Disability Questionnaire scores than delayed treatment participants at 6 months −2.48 (95% CI= −4.08, −0.87). Yoga participants improved more on pain intensity at 12 weeks and at 6 months. Opioid medication use declined among all participants, but group differences were not found.

Conclusions:

Yoga improved health outcomes among veterans despite evidence they had fewer resources, worse health, and more challenges attending yoga sessions than community samples studied previously. The magnitude of pain intensity decline was small, but occurred in the context of reduced opioid use. The findings support wider implementation of yoga programs for veterans.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6399016/

 

 

 

Lower Body Weight and Improve Heart Health with Yoga

Lower Body Weight and Improve Heart Health with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“A large number of studies show that yoga benefits many aspects of cardiovascular health. There’s been a major shift in the last five years or so in the number of cardiologists and other professionals recognizing that these benefits are real.” – Hugh Calkins

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” (Centers for Disease Control). A myriad of treatments has been developed for heart disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Cardiac rehabilitation programs for patients recovering from a heart failure, emphasize these lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of heart failure patients decline participation, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease are contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to prevent heart disease such as smoking cessationweight reduction, and stress reduction. Indeed, yoga practice is both a mindfulness training technique and a physical exercise. As such, it would seem particularly interesting to explore as a treatment to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Comparison of Blood Viscosity and Hematocrit Levels between Yoga Practitioners and Sedentary Adults. International journal of exercise science.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413846/), Shadiow and colleagues recruited adults who had practiced Hatha Yoga for at least 3 years and sedentary individuals who had not exercised in at least the last 6 months. After a 12 hour fast and 24 hours without exercise the participants were measured for body size, blood pressure, and blood was drawn for assays of blood viscosity and hematocrit.

 

They found, not surprisingly, that the yoga practitioners had significantly lower body weights and Body Mass Indices (BMIs). Importantly, the yoga practitioners had significantly lower blood viscosity values than the sedentary individuals. Low blood viscosity is associated with cardiac health. So, the results suggest that consistent long-term yoga practice in healthy individuals reduces body size and improves indicators of heart health. These conclusions need to be tempered with the understanding that this was a cross-sectional study that is open to alternative explanations. But, the results support conducting a randomized controlled clinical trial to definitively ascertain the effects of yoga practice on weight and heart health.

 

So, lower body weight and improve heart health with yoga.

 

“people who took yoga classes saw improvements in a number of factors that affect heart disease risk. They lost an average of five pounds, shaved five points off their blood pressure, and lowered their levels of harmful LDL cholesterol by 12 points.” – Julie Corliss

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Shadiow, J., Tarumi, T., Dhindsa, M., & Hunter, S. D. (2019). A Comparison of Blood Viscosity and Hematocrit Levels between Yoga Practitioners and Sedentary Adults. International journal of exercise science, 12(2), 425–432.

 

Abstract

Elevations in whole blood viscosity (WBV) and hematocrit (Hct), have been linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Endurance training has been demonstrated to lower WBV and Hct; however, evidence supporting the efficacy of yoga on these measures is sparse. A cross-sectional study was conducted examining WBV and Hct levels between yoga practitioners with a minimum of 3 years of consistent practice and sedentary, healthy adults. Blood samples were collected from a total of 42 participants: 23 sedentary adults and 19 regular yoga practitioners. Brachial arterial blood pressure (BP) was measured and the averages of 3 measures were reported. The yoga practitioner group had significantly lower WBV at 45 s−1 (p < 0.01), 90 s−1 (p < 0.01), 220 s−1 (p < 0.05), and 450 s−1 (p < 0.05) than sedentary participants. No significant group differences in Hct (p =0.38) were found. A tendency toward lower systolic BP (p=0.06) was observed in the yoga practitioner group; however, no significant group differences in BP were exhibited. A consistent yoga practice was associated with lower WBV, a health indicator related to CVD risk. These findings support a regular yoga practice as a valid form of exercise for improving rheological indicators of cardiovascular health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413846/

 

Improve Sleep and Reduce Insomnia with Mindfulness

Improve Sleep and Reduce Insomnia with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Given the absence of side effects and the positive potential benefits of mindfulness that extend beyond sleep, we encourage people with chronic insomnia, particularly those unable or unwilling to use sleep medications, to consider mindfulness training.” – Cynthia Gross

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. It has been estimated that 30 to 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, and 10% have chronic insomnia

 

Insomnia is more than just an irritant. Sleep deprivation is associated with decreased alertness and a consequent reduction in performance of even simple tasks, decreased quality of life, increased difficulties with memory and problem solving, increased likelihood of accidental injury including automobile accidents, and increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also can lead to anxiety about sleep itself. This is stressful and can produce even more anxiety about being able to sleep. About 4% of Americans revert to sleeping pills. But these do not always produce high quality sleep and can have problematic side effects. So, there is a need to find better methods to treat insomnia. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Mind-Body Therapies on Insomnia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6393899/ ), Wang and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the effects of mind-body practices on sleep. They uncovered 49 studies employing meditation, tai chi, qigong, and yoga practices and measuring sleep.

 

They report that the published studies found that meditation, tai chi, qigong, and yoga practices significantly reduced insomnia and improved the quality of sleep particularly when compared to no-treatment control groups. They also report that the benefits of the mind-body practices were greater in healthy individuals than in clinical populations. These significant effects were obtained by subjective reports, while objective sleep diary and actigraph measures were not significant.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that mind-body practices significantly improve the participants evaluations of the quality of sleep and insomnia. This is important as individuals in modern society tend not to get sufficient sleep and adequate sleep is important to the psychological and physical well-being of the individual and their performance during the day. Engaging in these mind-body practices of meditation, tai chi, qigong, and yoga practice have been shown to have many other benefits in addition to the improvement of sleep.

 

So, improve sleep and reduce insomnia with mindfulness.

 

“Insomnia is a disorder of cognitive and physiological hyperarousal, which mindfulness addresses.” – Aya Brackett

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wang, X., Li, P., Pan, C., Dai, L., Wu, Y., & Deng, Y. (2019). The Effect of Mind-Body Therapies on Insomnia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2019, 9359807. doi:10.1155/2019/9359807

 

Abstract

Background/Purpose

Sleep plays an important role in individuals’ health. The functions of the brain, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, and the metabolic system are closely associated with sleep. As a prevalent sleep disorder, insomnia has been closely concerned, and it is necessary to find effective therapies. In recent years, a growing body of studies has shown that mind-body therapies (MBTs) can improve sleep quality and ameliorate insomnia severity. However, a comprehensive and overall systematic review has not been conducted. In order to examine the effect of MBTs on insomnia, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the effects of MBTs on sleep quality in healthy adults and clinical populations.

Methods

PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and review of references were searched up to July 2018. English language studies of all designs evaluating the effect of MBTs on sleep outcomes in adults with or without diseases were examined. To calculate the SMDs and 95% CIs, we used a fixed effect model when heterogeneity was negligible and a random effect model when heterogeneity was significant.

Results

49 studies covering 4506 participants published between 2004 and 2018 were identified. Interventions included meditation, tai chi, qigong, and yoga which lasted 4 to 24 weeks. The MBTs resulted in statistically significant improvement in sleep quality and reduction on insomnia severity but no significant effects on sleep quantity indices, which were measured by sleep diary or objective measures. We analyzed the effects of tai chi and qigong separately as two different MBTs for the first time and found that qigong had a slight advantage over tai chi in the improvement of sleep quality. Subgroup analyses revealed that the effect of MBTs on sleep quality in healthy individuals was larger than clinical populations. The effect of MBTs might be influenced by the intervention duration but not the frequency.

Conclusions

MBTs can be effective in treating insomnia and improving sleep quality for healthy individuals and clinical patients. More high-quality and well-controlled RCTs are needed to make a better conclusion in further study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6393899/

 

Improve Chronic Neck Pain with Yoga

Improve Chronic Neck Pain with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“yoga may be an effective treatment for people dealing with chronic neck pain, and that it may also result in improved psychological effects.” – Nicole Joseph

 

We all have to deal with pain. It’s inevitable, but hopefully mild and short lived. But, for many, pain is a constant in their lives. The most common forms of chronic pain are back and neck pain. Neck pain is the number three cause of chronic pain; affecting more than a quarter of Americans.

There is a myriad of causes for chronic neck pain, including something as simple as improper positioning while sleeping, or even sitting or standing with bad posture. It can also occur due to injuries, accidents, heavy lifting or other spinal issues.

 

Just as there are many different causes there are also a plethora of treatments for neck pain. The most common is the use of drugs, including over –the-counter pain relievers and at times opiates. These are helpful but have limited effectiveness and opiates can lead to addiction and even death. Sometimes the pain can lead to surgical interventions that can be costly and are not always effective. So, alternative treatments such as acupuncture have also been used with some success. Physical therapy and chiropractic care have also been shown to be effective. Mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain and specific practices such as yoga can be effective for the relief of chronic low-back pain.  Many forms of yoga focus on the proper alignment of the spine, which could directly address the source of neck pain for many individuals.

 

There has been a considerable amount of research on the effects of yoga practice on chronic neck pain. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been discovered. In today’s Research News article “Effects of yoga on patients with chronic nonspecific neck pain: A PRISMA systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6407933/ ), Li and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the 10 published randomized controlled trials of the application of yoga practice for chronic neck pain.

 

They report that the published research found that yoga practice significantly reduced neck pain and neck pain related disability in comparison to other exercises except Pilates which produced an equivalent relief of pain and disability. These studies also found that yoga practice significantly improved the range of motion in the neck, the physical and mental quality of life, anxiety, and depression. They summarized only on short-term studies. But there were 3 studies that found significant improvements in the chronic neck pain patients that were still present 3 month later.

 

Hence, the published controlled research studies found that yoga practice was safe and effective for the treatment of chronic neck pain with suggestions that the benefits are long lasting. These are very promising results that suggest that yoga practice should be recommended for the treatment of patients with chronic neck pain, relieving the pain and disability, improving motion, quality of life, and mood.

 

So, improve chronic neck pain with yoga.

 

“yoga might enhance both the toning of muscles and releasing of muscle tension. Relaxation responses, therefore, could reduce stress related muscle tension and modify neurobiological pain perception. . .  lyengar yoga can be a safe and effective treatment option for chronic neck pain.” – Science Daily

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Li, Y., Li, S., Jiang, J., & Yuan, S. (2019). Effects of yoga on patients with chronic nonspecific neck pain: A PRISMA systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 98(8), e14649.

 

Abstract

Background:

Chronic nonspecific neck pain (CNNP) has a high prevalence and is more common among younger people. Clinical practice suggests that yoga is effective in relieving chronic pain.

Objectives:

This meta-analysis aimed to quantitatively summarize the efficacy of yoga for treating CNNP.

Data sources:

We searched for trials in the electronic databases from their inception to January 2019. English databases including PubMed, MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, Embase, Scopus, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Ind Med; Chinese databases including China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), WanFang Database, and VIP Information. We also conducted a manual search of key journals and the reference lists of eligible papers to identify any potentially relevant studies we may have missed. We placed no limitations on language or date of publication.

Study eligibility criteria:

We included only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and q-RCTs evaluating the effects of yoga on patients with CNNP. The primary outcomes for this review were pain and disability, and the secondary outcomes were cervical range of motion (CROM), quality of life (QoL), and mood.

Participants and interventions:

Trails that examined the clinical outcomes of yoga intervention in adults with CNNP compared with those of other therapies except yoga (e.g., exercise, pilates, usual care, et al) were included.

Study appraisal and synthesis methods:

Cochrane risk-of-bias criteria were used to assess the methodological quality, and RevMan 5.3 software was used to conduct the meta-analysis.

Results:

A total of 10 trials (n = 686) comparing yoga and interventions other than yoga were included in the meta-analysis. The results show that yoga had a positive effects on neck pain intensity (total effect: SMD = −1.13, 95% CI [−1.60, −0.66], Z = 4.75, P < .00001), neck pain-related functional disability (total effect: SMD = −0.92, 95% CI [−1.38, −0.47], Z = 3.95, P < .0001), CROM (total effect: SMD = 1.22, 95% CI [0.87, 1.57], Z = 6.83, P < .00001), QoL (total effect: MD = 3.46, 95% CI [0.75, 6.16], Z = 2.51, P = .01), and mood (total effect: SMD = −0.61, 95% CI [−0.95, −0.27], Z = 3.53, P = .0004).

Conclusions and implications of key findings:

It was difficult to make a comprehensive summary of all the evidence due to the different session and duration of the yoga interventions, and the different outcome measurement tools in the study, we draw a very cautious conclusion that yoga can relieve neck pain intensity, improve pain-related function disability, increase CROM, improve QoL, and boost mood. This suggests that yoga might be an important alternative in the treatment of CNNP.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6407933/

 

Enhance Flow in Athletes with Mindfulness

Enhance Flow in Athletes with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness-based interventions for sports are effective because they help athletes direct their attention to the current athletic task, while minimizing external distractions.” – Mitch Plemmons

 

Athletic performance requires the harmony of mind and body. Excellence is in part physical and in part psychological. That is why an entire profession of Sports Psychology has developed. “In sport psychology, competitive athletes are taught psychological strategies to better cope with a number of demanding challenges related to psychological functioning.” They use a number of techniques to enhance performance including mindfulness training. It has been shown to improve attention and concentration and emotion regulation and reduces anxiety and worry and rumination, and the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, mindfulness training has been employed by athletes and even by entire teams to enhance their performance.

 

Flow refers to a state of mind that is characterized by a complete absorption with the task at hand, often resulting in enhanced skilled performance. The flow state underlies the athletes’ feelings and thoughts when they recall the best performances of their careers. It is obvious that the notion of flow and mindfulness have great similarity. There is little known, however, about the relationship between mindfulness and flow in athletes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness training enhances flow state and mental health among baseball players in Taiwan.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6307497/ ), Chen and colleagues recruited the members of an elite male baseball team in Taiwan and provided them with a 4-session mindfulness training including meditation, yoga, and discussion of the application of mindfulness to their sport. They were measured before and after training and 4 weeks later for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, sleep quality, competitive anxiety, mindfulness, and flow state.

 

They found that after training and at follow-up there was a significant increase in sleep quality and flow state and a significant decrease in eating disorders and competitive anxiety. In addition, the higher the level of mindfulness of the player, the greater the level of flow state. They also saw a non-significant increase in the team’s performance after the training.

 

These are interesting results but conclusions need to be tempered with the fact that there wasn’t a control condition. This leaves many alternative confounding interpretations. Nevertheless, these pilot findings suggest that further research is warranted to investigate the effect of mindfulness training on athletic flow state. These results contribute to the growing body of research that suggests that being mindful produces enhanced athletic performance.

 

So, enhance flow in athletes with mindfulness.

 

“Achieving peak performance and especially being able to develop flow experiences in athletes is the holy grail of sport psychology.  . . researches are getting one step closer to unveiling the psychological factors that influence flow experiences, and mindfulness could be an essential part of the puzzle.” – Carmilo Saenz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chen, J. H., Tsai, P. H., Lin, Y. C., Chen, C. K., & Chen, C. Y. (2018). Mindfulness training enhances flow state and mental health among baseball players in Taiwan. Psychology research and behavior management, 12, 15-21. doi:10.2147/PRBM.S188734

 

Abstract

Objective

To examine the effect of mindfulness-based training on performance and mental health among a group of elite athletes.

Methods

This study aimed to evaluate the effect of mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) on mental health, flow state, and competitive state anxiety using a 4-week workshop. We recruited an amateur baseball team (N=21) in Taiwan, and collected information by self-reported questionnaires administered before, immediately after, and at a 4-week follow-up. The primary outcome was to evaluate sports performance by flow state and competitive state anxiety, which included self-confidence, somatic anxiety, and cognitive anxiety. The secondary outcome was to explore whether MSPE intervention can improve anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and eating disorders.

Result

After the workshop and follow-up 1 month later, we found improvements in flow state (P=0.001; P=0.045), cognitive anxiety in competitive anxiety (P=0.056; P=0.008), global eating disorder (P=0.009; P<0.001), marked shape concern (P=0.005; P<0.001), and weight concern (P=0.007; P<0.001). Scores of sleep disturbance (P=0.047) showed significant improvement at follow-up. We also found significant association between flow state and mindfulness ability (P<0.001).

Conclusion

This is the first mindfulness intervention to enhance athletes’ performance in Taiwan, and also the first application of MSPE for team sports. Our study results suggested that mindfulness ability is associated with flow state, and that MSPE is a promising training program for strengthening flow state and mental health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6307497/

 

Decrease Hypertension with Yoga Practice

Decrease Hypertension with Yoga Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga, when performed mindfully, can reduce this type of stress-induced hypertension, while addressing its underlying causes. It pacifies the sympathetic nervous system and slows down the heart, while teaching the muscles and mind to relax deeply.” – Marla Apt

 

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is an insidious disease because there are no overt symptoms. The individual feels fine. But it can be deadly as more than 360,000 American deaths, roughly 1,000 deaths each day, had high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. In addition, hypertension markedly increases the risk heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.  It is also a very common disorder with about 70 million American adults (29%) having high blood pressure and only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.

 

High blood pressure, because it doesn’t have any primary symptoms, is usually only diagnosed by direct measurement of blood pressure usually by a health care professional. When hypertension is chronically present over three quarters of patients are treated with antihypertensive drugs. But these medications often have adverse side effects. So, patients feel lousy when taking the drugs, but fine when they’re not. So, compliance is a major issue with many patients not taking the drugs regularly or stopping entirely.

 

Obviously, there is a need for alternative to drug treatments for hypertension. Mindfulness practices have been shown to aid in controlling hypertension. Exercise is also known to help. So, yoga practice, which combines mindfulness practice with exercise would seem to be a good candidate practice for the treatment of hypertension. Indeed, yoga practice appears to lower blood pressure in hypertension. But yoga practices can contain a number of components including meditation, breathing exercises, postures, chanting, and mantras. It is not known, whether the postures included in the practice are necessary for the beneficial effects of yoga practice on hypertension.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga in Arterial Hypertension.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6375068/ ), Cramer and colleagues recruited adult patients with primary arterial hypertension receiving antihypertensive medication. They were randomly assigned to receive either yoga training that either included postures or without postures, or a wait-list control condition. The yoga practice consisted of 90 minutes, once a week, for 12 weeks of meditation, relaxation techniques, and postures for the yoga with postures group. The participants were encouraged and provided materials to practice daily at home. They were measured before and after training and 26 weeks later for systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

 

They found that at the end of training the yoga group without postures had a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure than either the control group or the group with yoga postures. But, at follow-up, 26 weeks later, the yoga group that included postures had a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure than either the control group or the group without yoga postures. Diastolic blood pressure was not affected. It should be noted that these benefits were obtained in patients taking antihypertensive medications. So, the yoga practice benefits supplemented those of the drugs.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that on the short-term yoga practice without postures is best for blood pressure reduction in patients with hypertension while for the long-term yoga with postures is best. The relaxation produced by practicing meditation and relaxation may have the immediate consequence of decreasing blood pressure but doesn’t appear to be sustained while the exercise involved in postures, like occurs with other aerobic exercises, may have more long-term benefits for the cardiovascular system.

 

These benefits are important as reducing blood pressure in patients with hypertension is important for their health, longevity, and well-being. Yoga appears to be a safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive treatment. In addition, yoga practice has psychological and social benefits that can help to maintain practice over the long-term.

 

So, decrease hypertension with yoga practice.

 

“Yoga, along with deep breathing exercises, meditation and inner reflection, is a good adjunctive and integrative cardiovascular approach to better health, including lowering blood pressure, as this data suggests,” – David Friedman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Cramer, H., Sellin, C., Schumann, D., & Dobos, G. (2018). Yoga in Arterial Hypertension. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 115(50), 833-839. DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2018.0833

 

Abstract

Background

Yoga seems to exert its effect against arterial hypertension mainly through the associated breathing and meditation techniques, and less so through yoga postures. The goal of this trial was to compare the blood pressure–lowering effect of yoga interventions with and without yoga postures in patients with arterial hypertension.

Methods

75 patients taking medications for arterial hypertension (72% women, mean age 58.7 ± 9.5 years) were randomized into three groups: a yoga intervention group with yoga postures (25 patients, of whom 5 dropped out of the trial before its end), a yoga intervention group without yoga postures (25 patients, 3 dropouts), and a wait list control group (25 patients, one dropout). The interventions consisted of 90 minutes of yoga practice per week for twelve weeks. The data collectors, who were blinded to the intervention received, assessed the primary outcome measures “systolic 24-hour blood pressure” and “diastolic 24-hour blood pressure” before and after the intervention. In this report, we also present the findings on secondary outcome measures, including follow-up data.

Results

After the intervention, the systolic 24-hour blood pressure in the yoga intervention group without yoga postures was significantly lower than in the control group (group difference [?]= -3.8 mmHg; [95% confidence interval (CI): (-0.3; -7.4) p = 0.035]); it was also significantly lower than in the yoga intervention group with yoga postures (? = -3.2 mmHg; 95% CI: [-6.3; -0.8]; p = 0.045). Diastolic blood pressures did not differ significantly across groups. No serious adverse events were encountered in the course of the trial.

Conclusion

In accordance with the findings of earlier studies, we found that only yoga without yoga postures induced a short-term lowering of ambulatory systolic blood pressure. Yoga is safe and effective in patients taking medications for arterial hypertension and thus can be recommended as an additional treatment option for persons in this category.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6375068/

 

Improve Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors with Exercise or Yoga

Improve Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors with Exercise or Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In studies of women with breast cancer, yoga has been shown to reduce fatigue and improve quality of sleep, physical vitality, and overall quality of life.” – BreastCancer.org

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including fatiguestress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. Yoga practice is a form of mindfulness training that has been shown to be beneficial for cancer patients. But yoga practice is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. It is unclear whether the benefits of yoga practice for cancer patients is due to its mindfulness or exercise components or both. The research has been accumulating. It is thus important to take a step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga-Specific Enhancement of Quality of Life Among Women With Breast Cancer: Systematic Review and Exploratory Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6388460/ ), El-Hashimi and Gorey review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of yoga for improving the quality of life in survivors of breast cancer. They found and report on 8 randomized controlled trials that included a comparison to another exercise program.

 

They report that the research demonstrated that exercise practices including yoga produce significant improvements in quality of life for the breast cancer patients that are still present as much as a year later. But yoga practice was not significantly better than other exercise programs in improving the quality of life. It would appear that the fact that yoga practice is an exercise and not its mindfulness aspect is critical for the improvement in the quality of life of breast cancer patients.

 

So, improve quality of life in breast cancer survivors with exercise or yoga.

 

“Yoga, meditation, and breathing practices allow women with breast cancer to explore their emotions, foster mindful empathy, and cope with fatigue and tightness,” – Sierra Campbell

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

El-Hashimi, D., & Gorey, K. M. (2019). Yoga-Specific Enhancement of Quality of Life Among Women With Breast Cancer: Systematic Review and Exploratory Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of evidence-based integrative medicine, 24, 2515690X19828325.

 

Abstract

Physical activities during and after cancer treatment have favorable psychosocial effects. Increasingly, yoga has become a popular approach to improving the quality of life (QoL) of women with breast cancer. However, the extant synthetic evidence on yoga has not used other exercise comparison conditions. This meta-analysis aimed to systematically assess yoga-specific effects relative to any other physical exercise intervention (eg, aerobics) for women with breast cancer. QoL was the primary outcome of interest. Eight randomized controlled trials with 545 participants were included. The sample-weighted synthesis at immediate postintervention revealed marginally statistically and modest practically significant differences suggesting yoga’s potentially greater effectiveness: d = 0.14, P = .10. However, at longer term follow-up, no statistically or practically significant between-group difference was observed. This meta-analysis preliminarily demonstrated that yoga is probably as effective as other exercise modalities in improving the QoL of women with breast cancer. Both interventions were associated with clinically significant improvements in QoL. Nearly all of the yoga intervention programs, however, were very poorly resourced. Larger and better controlled trials of well-endowed yoga programs are needed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6388460/