Strengthen the Pelvic Floor of Postpartum Women with Yoga

Strengthen the Pelvic Floor of Postpartum Women with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.” ― B.K.S Iyengar

 

Childbirth and some surgeries, particularly hysterectomies can weaken the muscles that hold the pelvic organs in place. These muscles are referred to as the pelvic floor which fixes the bladder, uterus, and rectum in the pelvic cavity. These muscles are often weakened as a result of childbirth. This can lead to a state where the pelvic organs such as the bladder drop from the lower belly and push against the walls of the vagina. The most common symptom of pelvic floor weakness is feeling very full in the lower belly. Symptoms also include feeling as if something is falling out of the vagina, feeling a pull or stretch in the groin area or pain in your lower back, incontinence or needing to urinate a lot, having vaginal pain during sex, and constipation.

 

It is estimated that pelvic floor weakness affects about a third of women sometime during their lifetime. When mild to moderate in intensity it is usually left untreated, and the patient learns to cope with the symptoms. But in severe cases surgery is called for. Exercises to strengthen the muscles holding the organs in place can be helpful in relieving symptoms. Yoga training has been shown to be beneficial for a large array of physical and mental disorders including Pelvic Organ Prolapse. So, it makes sense to study the effectiveness of yoga exercise on the strength of the pelvic floor in postpartum women.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Yoga Exercise on Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation of Postpartum Women.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8808187/ ) Li recruited women in need of postpartum pelvic floor rehabilitation and provided them with myoelectric stimulation. They were assigned the to receive either no further treatment or to practice yoga for 10 weeks. They were measured before, and at 42 days and 3 months with pelvic ultrasound examination.

 

They found that the yoga group after training had significantly fewer ruptures in the pelvic floor, significantly better positioning of the rectum and bladder, significantly improved chest circumference, vital capacity, and movement and flexibility, and significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, paranoia, and hostility.

 

These findings suggest that yoga practice strengthens the pelvic floor and the physician and psychological well-being of women postpartum.

 

Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” ― Bob Harper

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Li Q. The Effects of Yoga Exercise on Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation of Postpartum Women. J Healthc Eng. 2022 Jan 25;2022:1924232. doi: 10.1155/2022/1924232. PMID: 35126906; PMCID: PMC8808187.

 

Abstract

Rehabilitation of the pelvic floor after delivery is very important for women. Pelvic floor rehabilitation can speed up the recovery of the postpartum vagina and pelvic floor muscle tension and elasticity and have a good effect on the prevention and treatment of postpartum vaginal prolapse and relaxation, urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders. Thus, this article focuses on yoga exercise to explore its impact on postpartum pelvic floor rehabilitation. This article uses electrical stimulation and the treatment of pelvic floor muscles combined with the posture recognition algorithm, the yoga rehabilitation training program that has the best effect on the parturient is obtained, and the yoga myoelectric stimulation combined method and the traditional myoelectric stimulation method are designed for comparison experiments. The experimental results show that the parturients who have undergone the combined method of yoga myoelectric stimulation, in the resting state, contraction state, and Valsalva state, the position of the bladder meridian, the position of the uterus, and the position of the rectal ampulla of the parturient have a significant recovery compared those who have undergone the traditional electromyography treatment. In addition, the average area of hiatus in the pelvic floor ultrasound examination in the control group 42 days postpartum was 12.2605 cm2, while the average area of the hiatus in the pelvic floor ultrasound examination in the experimental group 42 days postpartum was 10.788 cm2; the average area of hiatus in the pelvic floor ultrasound examination in the control group at 3 months postpartum was 11.4805 cm2, and the average area of hiatus in the pelvic floor ultrasound examination in the experimental group at 3 months postpartum was 8.9475 cm2. To sum up, yoga had a very significant improvement on the physical indicators and mental health of postpartum women.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8808187/

 

Improve Immune function with a Meditation Retreat

Improve Immune function with a Meditation Retreat

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“meditative practice enhanced immune function without activating inflammatory signals. This suggests that meditation, as a behavioral intervention, may be an effective component in treating diseases characterized by increased inflammatory responsiveness with a weakened immune system.” – Vijayendran Chandran

 

The immune system is designed to protect the body from threats like stress, infection, injury, and toxic chemicals. One of its tools is the Inflammatory response. This response works quite well for short-term infections and injuries. But when inflammation is protracted and becomes chronic, it can itself become a threat to health. It can produce autoimmune diseases such as colitis, Chron’s disease, arthritis, heart disease, increased cancer risk, lung disease, sleep disruption, gum disease, decreased bone health, psoriasis, and depression.

 

When the immune system attacks the liver, it produces autoimmune hepatitis which damages the liver. It is rare but affects women four times more often than men. Mind-body techniques such as yoga, Tai Chi and meditation have been shown to adaptively reduce the inflammatory response. So, it would seem reasonable that mindfulness training may be effective in treating autoimmune hepatitis.

 

In today’s Research News article “). Large-scale genomic study reveals robust activation of the immune system following advanced Inner Engineering meditation retreat.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8713789/ ) Chandran and colleagues recruited healthy participants in an 8-day meditation, yoga, and vegan diet retreat. Blood was drawn for genomic analysis 5 weeks before, immediately before and after the retreat and 3 months later.

 

They found that there was lessened activity in genes associated with oxidative stress, detoxification, and cell cycle regulation and increased activity in genes associated with the immune response but no change in genes associated with inflammation. Hence, participation in the meditation, yoga, and vegan diet retreat produced genetic expressions representative of improved immune response without inflammation.

 

So, improve immune function with a meditation retreat.

 

multiple genes related to the immune system were activated — dramatically — when you do Inner Engineering practices,” – Vijayendran Chandran

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chandran, V., Bermúdez, M. L., Koka, M., Chandran, B., Pawale, D., Vishnubhotla, R., Alankar, S., Maturi, R., Subramaniam, B., & Sadhasivam, S. (2021). Large-scale genomic study reveals robust activation of the immune system following advanced Inner Engineering meditation retreat. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(51), e2110455118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2110455118

 

SIGNIFICANCE

Several studies on the impact of yoga and meditation on mental and physical health have demonstrated beneficial effects. However, the potential molecular mechanisms and critical genes involved in this beneficial outcome have yet to be comprehensively elucidated. This study identified and characterized the transcriptional program associated with advanced meditation practice, and we bioinformatically integrated various networks to identify meditation-specific core network. This core network links several immune signaling pathways, and we showed that this core transcriptional profile is dysfunctional in multiple sclerosis and severe COVID-19 infection. Very importantly, we demonstrated that the meditative practice enhanced immune function without activating inflammatory signals. Together, these results make meditation an effective behavioral intervention for treating various conditions associated with a weakened immune system.

Keywords: meditation, immune, Isha yoga, Inner Engineering, COVID-19

Go to:

ABSTRACT

The positive impact of meditation on human well-being is well documented, yet its molecular mechanisms are incompletely understood. We applied a comprehensive systems biology approach starting with whole-blood gene expression profiling combined with multilevel bioinformatic analyses to characterize the coexpression, transcriptional, and protein–protein interaction networks to identify a meditation-specific core network after an advanced 8-d Inner Engineering retreat program. We found the response to oxidative stress, detoxification, and cell cycle regulation pathways were down-regulated after meditation. Strikingly, 220 genes directly associated with immune response, including 68 genes related to interferon signaling, were up-regulated, with no significant expression changes in the inflammatory genes. This robust meditation-specific immune response network is significantly dysregulated in multiple sclerosis and severe COVID-19 patients. The work provides a foundation for understanding the effect of meditation and suggests that meditation as a behavioral intervention can voluntarily and nonpharmacologically improve the immune response for treating various conditions associated with excessive or persistent inflammation with a dampened immune system profile.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8713789/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Labor Duration with Pregnancy Yoga

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Labor Duration with Pregnancy Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Prenatal yoga is a great way to stay active during pregnancy. It’s both gentle and low impact, while offering physical and mental benefits.” – Karisa Ding

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and to relieve postpartum depression. Yoga has been shown to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy. The research is accumulating. So, it makes sense to review and summarize what has been learned regarding the effects of yoga during pregnancy.

 

In today’s Research News article “The characteristics and effectiveness of pregnancy yoga interventions: 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/PMC8957136/ ) Corrigan and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effects of yoga during pregnancy. They identified 31 published research studies including 2413 pregnant women.

 

They report that the published research found that practicing yoga during pregnancy produces significant psychological benefits including decreases in perceived stress, anxiety, and depression and significant increases in physical, psychological, and social quality of life. They also report that practicing yoga reduced the duration of labor.

 

The findings of the published research to date suggests that practicing yoga during pregnancy improves the psychological well-being of the women and reduces the amount of labor.

 

Women who do yoga — including breathing exercises, posture positions and meditation — for one hour a day have been shown to have a lower preterm labor rate, as well as lower risk of pregnancy-reduced hypertension, compared with women who spent the same amount of time walking.” – Maura Hohman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Corrigan, L., Moran, P., McGrath, N., Eustace-Cook, J., & Daly, D. (2022). The characteristics and effectiveness of pregnancy yoga interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 22(1), 250. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-022-04474-9

 

Abstract

Background

Yoga is a popular mind-body medicine frequently recommended to pregnant women. Gaps remain in our understanding of the core components of effective pregnancy yoga programmes. This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the characteristics and effectiveness of pregnancy yoga interventions, incorporating the FITT (frequency, intensity, time/duration and type) principle of exercise prescription.

Methods

Nine electronic databases were searched: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, CINAHL, WHOLiS, AMED, ScieLo, ASSIA and Web of Science. Randomised control trials and quasi-experimental studies examining pregnancy yoga interventions were eligible. Covidence was used to screen titles, abstracts, and full-text articles. Outcomes of interest were stress, anxiety, depression, quality of life, labour duration, pain management in labour and mode of birth. The Cochrane Collaboration’s Risk of Bias Assessment tool was used to assess methodological quality of studies and GRADE criteria (GRADEpro) evaluated quality of the evidence. Meta-analysis was performed using RevMan 5.3.

Results

Of 862 citations retrieved, 31 studies met inclusion criteria. Twenty-nine studies with 2217 pregnant women were included for meta-analysis. Pregnancy yoga interventions reduced anxiety (SMD: -0.91; 95% CI: − 1.49 to − 0.33; p = 0.002), depression (SMD: -0.47; 95% CI: − 0.9 to − 0.04, P = 0.03) and perceived stress (SMD: -1.03; 95% CI: − 1.55 to − 0.52; p < 0.001). Yoga interventions also reduced duration of labour (MD = − 117.75; 95% CI − 153.80 to − 81.71, p < 0.001) and, increased odds of normal vaginal birth (OR 2.58; 95% CI 1.46–4.56, p < 0.001) and tolerance for pain. The quality of evidence (GRADE criteria) was low to very low for all outcomes. Twelve or more yoga sessions delivered weekly/bi-weekly had a statistically significant impact on mode of birth, while 12 or more yoga sessions of long duration (> 60 min) had a statistically significant impact on perceived stress.

Conclusion

The evidence highlights positive effects of pregnancy yoga on anxiety, depression, perceived stress, mode of birth and duration of labour.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8957136/

 

Improve Weight Loss with Yoga Practice

Improve Weight Loss with Yoga Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga may be a promising way to help with behavioral change, weight loss, and maintenance by burning calories, heightening mindfulness, and reducing stress.” – Emily Cronkleton

 

Overweight and obesity is epidemic in the modern world. Despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective weight loss method. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overweight alone or in combination with other therapies. Yoga is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice that has been shown to have a myriad of physical and psychological benefits. These include significant loss in weight and body mass index (BMI), resting metabolism, and body fat.

 

In today’s Research News article “A preliminary investigation of yoga as an intervention approach for improving long-term weight loss: A randomized trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8815874/ ) Unick and colleagues recruited overweight and obese adult women and had them complete a 12-week behavioral weight loss program including reduced caloric intake and increased exercise and weekly 1-hour group eating behavior therapy meetings. They then randomly assigned them to receive 12 weeks of twice weekly 1-hour classes of either yoga or culinary and nutrition classes. The women were measured before treatment, after the weight loss treatment (3 months), and after yoga or control treatment (6 months) for body size, physical activity, mindfulness perceived stress, distress tolerance, positive and negative emotions, and self-compassion.

 

The women lost on average 6.4 kg of weight over the behavioral weight loss treatment. They found that among the women with high weight loss (>5% body weight) after the 3-month yoga or control period those that practiced yoga had a significantly greater average weight loss, 9.0 kg, compared to controls, 6.7 kg and had significantly greater increases in mindfulness, distress tolerance, and self-compassion and significantly greater decreases in negative emotions and perceived stress.

 

The findings show that for overweight and obese women who had significant weight losses, as a result of a behavioral weight reduction program, those that practiced yoga during the succeeding 3 months lost more weight than controls. This suggests that practicing yoga after weight loss treatment produces greater further reductions in weight and improved psychological well-being.

 

So, yoga assists in long-term weight loss after a dietary program and improves psychological well-being.

 

Yoga, if done right, becomes a lifestyle change, which in turn can help increase physical activity and decrease emotional eating. And it can help you manage stress, which can also help with weight maintenance.” – Judi Barr

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Unick, J. L., Dunsiger, S. I., Bock, B. C., Sherman, S. A., Braun, T. D., & Wing, R. R. (2022). A preliminary investigation of yoga as an intervention approach for improving long-term weight loss: A randomized trial. PloS one, 17(2), e0263405. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263405

 

Abstract

Objective

Yoga targets psychological processes which may be important for long-term weight loss (WL). This study is the first to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of yoga within a weight management program following WL treatment.

Methods

60 women with overweight or obesity (34.3±3.9 kg/m2, 48.1±10.1 years) were randomized to receive a 12-week yoga intervention (2x/week; YOGA) or a structurally equivalent control (cooking/nutrition classes; CON), following a 3-month behavioral WL program. Feasibility (attendance, adherence, retention) and acceptability (program satisfaction ratings) were assessed. Treatment groups were compared on weight change, mindfulness, distress tolerance, stress, affect, and self-compassion at 6 months. Initial WL (3-mo WL) was evaluated as a potential moderator.

Results

Attendance, retention, and program satisfaction ratings of yoga were high. Treatment groups did not differ on WL or psychological constructs (with exception of one mindfulness subscale) at 6 months. However, among those with high initial WL (≥5%), YOGA lost significantly more weight (-9.0kg vs. -6.7kg) at 6 months and resulted in greater distress tolerance, mindfulness, and self-compassion and lower negative affect, compared to CON.

Conclusions

Study findings provide preliminary support for yoga as a potential strategy for improving long-term WL among those losing ≥5% in standard behavioral treatment.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8815874/

 

Improve Quality of Life with Yoga and Meditation

Improve Quality of Life with Yoga and Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Though the benefits of a yoga practice initially arrive on our mats, a regular practice expands those benefits as they permeate into our daily lives beyond the four corners of our mats.” – Crystal Borup-Popenoe

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of benefits for psychological and physical health, social, and spiritual well-being. It is both an exercise and a mind-body practice those stresses both mental attention to present moment movements, breath control, and flexibility, range of motion, and balance.

 

In today’s Research News article “Health-Related Quality of Life Outcomes With Regular Yoga and Heartfulness Meditation Practice: Results From a Multinational, Cross-sectional Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9116454/  ) Thimmapuram and colleagues recruit participants in the International Day of Yoga 100 day Yoga and heartfulness meditation practice online from countries around the world and had them complete measures of yoga practice, health-related quality of life, relaxation, nervousness, and stress.

 

Both regular yoga practitioners and also heartfulness meditation practitioners in comparison to those who were not had significantly higher health-related quality of life, healthy lifestyle, ability to cope with stress, workplace productivity, relaxation, and staying healthy during Covid-19 and lower levels of stress. Hence, regular practitioners of yoga or heartfulness meditation were associated with greater health and well-being.

 

The study does not establish causation but provide evidence that the relationship of the practices to health and well-being occur regardless of country.

 

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. “ – Holger Cramer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Thimmapuram, J., Patel, K., Madhusudhan, D. K., Deshpande, S., Bouderlique, E., Nicolai, V., & Rao, R. (2022). Health-Related Quality of Life Outcomes With Regular Yoga and Heartfulness Meditation Practice: Results From a Multinational, Cross-sectional Study. JMIR formative research, 6(5), e37876. https://doi.org/10.2196/37876

 

Abstract

Background

Although the benefits of yoga are well established across the world, there are limited studies exploring the long-term interrelation between yoga, meditation, and health. Specifically, there is limited research exploring the differences in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among regular meditators and nonmeditators.

Objective

This study explored the differences in 7 domains of HRQOL (including quality of life, ability to adopt a healthy lifestyle, ability to relax, frequency of nervousness and stress, coping with day-to-day stress, workplace productivity, and staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic) among practitioners of yoga and meditation.

Methods

A cross-sectional, online survey was distributed to all members who participated in a 100-day yoga and meditation program, culminating in the International Day of Yoga event, organized by the Heartfulness Institute in partnership with the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, Ministry of Ayush, SVYASA Yoga University, and Patanjali Yoga Institute, India. The program consisted of daily virtual yoga, meditation, and speaker sessions. The data were analyzed by nonparametric Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis tests for continuous variables and chi-square test for categorical variables.

Results

A total of 3164 participants from 39 countries completed the survey. Mean age was 33.8 (SD 13.6) years. The majority of the participants were female (n=1643, 52%) and students (n=1312, 41.5%). Regular yoga and meditation practice was associated with a positive impact on all 7 domains of HRQOL (Mann-Whitney P<.05 and χ2 P<.05). Notably, experienced Heartfulness (≥2 years) meditators reported better outcomes in all the domains of HRQOL as compared to those not currently practicing this form of meditation and participants with ≤1 year of Heartfulness meditation experience (P<.05).

Conclusions

This is one of the first cross-sectional studies to explore HRQOL outcomes among participants of a 100-day virtual yoga and meditation program. Overall, a yoga and meditation practice was found to be an effective tool for promoting HRQOL. Regular yoga and meditation practice was associated with factors promoting health and well-being, with long-term meditation practice associated with increased benefits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9116454/

Reduce Burnout in Caregivers for the Elderly with Meditation and Yoga

Reduce Burnout in Caregivers for the Elderly with Meditation and Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Self-care is very important for preventing caregiver burnout and senior stress, and two of the most effective self-care habits you can start are meditation and yoga.” – Harry Cline

 

There is a tremendous demand for caregiving. It is estimated that over 65 million (29% of the adult population) in the US provides care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, averaging 20 hours per week spent caring for their loved ones. This caregiving comes at a cost exacting a tremendous toll on caregivers’ health and well-being. Caregiving has been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety as well as higher use of psychoactive medications, poorer self-reported physical health, compromised immune function, and increased mortality. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effects of yoga and mindful meditation on elderly care worker’s burnout: a CONSORT-compliant randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8753257/ ) Kukihara and colleagues recruited adult caregivers for the elderly and randomly assigned them to receive either no-treatment, or 6 weekly 60-minute programs of either yoga or mindful meditation. They were measured before and after treatment for burnout and provided saliva samples for assay for the stress marker α-amylase.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control group both the yoga and meditation groups had significant reductions in burnout, particularly emotional exhaustion, and the salivary stress marker α-amylase. There were no significant differences in the benefits of the yoga or the mindful meditation programs.

 

So, practice yoga or meditation to reduce burnout and stress in caregivers for the elderly.

 

Caregiving for a senior is a wonderful thing to do, but it comes with its difficulties and stresses. Yoga and meditation are two practices that can help seniors and their caregivers lead happier and healthier lives.” – Beverly Nelson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kukihara, H., Ando, M., & Yamawaki, N. (2022). The effects of yoga and mindful meditation on elderly care worker’s burnout: a CONSORT-compliant randomized controlled trial. Journal of rural medicine : JRM, 17(1), 14–20. https://doi.org/10.2185/jrm.2021-021

 

Abstract

Objectives: This study aims to investigate the effects of mindful meditation and yoga on reducing burnout and stress in care workers who assist elderly individuals. Knowing how to reduce burnout is important because that of care workers is associated with the quality of client care, worker productivity, and job turnover.

Patients and Methods: The participants included 44 care workers who worked for elderly care facilities in rural Fukuoka. They were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups: control, yoga, or mindfulness. In the yoga intervention group, a certified yoga instructor taught a 60-minute yoga session each week for six weeks. In the mindfulness group, an experienced medical doctor instructed a mindful meditation program for the same length. Participants were asked to complete the Japanese Burnout Scale (JBS), and the research team collected the level of α-amylase in saliva using NIPRO: T-110-N pre- and post-interventions.

Results: MANOVA was performed with each intervention (control, yoga, mindfulness) as the independent variable on the three subscales of the JBS (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal achievement) and a biomarker of stress level (α-amylase). The results indicated a significant main effect of interventions, and a follow-up ANOVA showed a significant effect of interventions on emotional exhaustion and personal achievement.

Conclusion: The results indicate that practicing mindful meditation or yoga for 60 minutes once a week for six weeks can reduce care workers’ burnout. This study was notable because the biomarker of stress also improved. It is strongly recommended and encouraged that institutions caring for the elderly population provide mindful meditation or yoga intervention to reduce burnout, which benefits not only care workers but also their clients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8753257/

 

Manage Hypertension with Yoga

Manage Hypertension with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“brisk walking, reducing salt intake, and practicing yoga can each benefit people with high blood pressure.” – Markus MacGill

 

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. Treatment frequently includes 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. Exercise has been shown to effectively reduce blood pressure. Also, mindfulness practices have been shown to aid in controlling hypertension. Yoga practice is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice that has been shown to reduce blood pressure. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned regarding the conditions under which yoga practice is effective in reducing hypertension.

.

In today’s Research News article “Content, Structure, and Delivery Characteristics of Yoga Interventions for Managing Hypertension: A Systematic Review and 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/PMC8995771/ ) Nalbant and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled studies of the conditions under which yoga practice is effective in reducing hypertension. They identified 34 published randomized controlled trials.

 

They report that the published studies found that yoga practice was overall effective in lowering diastolic and systolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension. In comparing trials that produced significant improvement in hypertension to those that didn’t they report that the successful trials incorporated balance of postures, breathing practices, meditation and relaxation practices, occurring over 2 sessions per week, and were delivered in a formal setting under supervision.

 

This summary of published research supports the use of yoga practice in the treatment of hypertension and defines the components that need to be present to produce significant benefits.

 

Yoga leaves a positive impact on your mind and body. It is an effective way to lower blood pressure. Here are some effective yoga asanas for hypertension.” – Varsha Vats

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Nalbant, G., Hassanein, Z. M., Lewis, S., & Chattopadhyay, K. (2022). Content, Structure, and Delivery Characteristics of Yoga Interventions for Managing Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Frontiers in public health, 10, 846231. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2022.846231

 

Abstract

Objectives

This systematic review aimed to synthesize the content, structure, and delivery characteristics of effective yoga interventions used for managing hypertension and to compare these characteristics with ineffective interventions.

Design and Method

The JBI and the PRISMA guidelines were followed in this systematic review. RCTs conducted among hypertensive adults were included. RCTs reporting at least one of the major components of yoga (i.e., asana, pranayama, and dhyana and relaxation practices) and comparing them with no intervention or any intervention were eligible. Sixteen databases were searched for published and unpublished studies without any date and language restrictions till March 15, 2021.

Results

The literature search yielded 13,130 records. 34 RCTs (evaluating 38 yoga interventions) met the inclusion criteria. Overall, included studies had low methodological quality mostly due to inadequate reporting. Yoga reduced SBP and DBP compared to a control intervention (MD −6.49 and −2.78; 95CI% −8.94– −4.04 and −4.11– −1.45, respectively). Eighteen, 14 and 20 interventions were effective in improving SBP, DBP, or either, respectively. 13 out of 20 effective interventions incorporated all the 3 major components of yoga and allocated similar durations to each component whereas ineffective interventions were more focused on the asana and duration of asana practice was longer. The most common duration and frequency of effective interventions were 45 min/session (in 5 interventions), 7 days/week (in 5 interventions), and 12 weeks (in 11 interventions) whereas the most common session frequency was 2 days a week (in 7 interventions) in ineffective interventions. Effective interventions were mostly center-based (in 15 interventions) and supervised (in 16 interventions) and this was similar with ineffective interventions.

Conclusion

Despite the low quality and heterogeneity of included studies, our findings suggest yoga interventions may effectively manage hypertension. The differences between the effective and ineffective interventions suggest that effective yoga interventions mostly incorporated asana, pranayama, and dhyana and relaxation practices and they had a balance between these three components and included regular practice. They were mostly delivered in a center and under supervision. Future studies should consider developing and evaluating an intervention for managing hypertension using the synthesized findings of the effective interventions in this review.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8995771/

 

Improve the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes with Yoga Therapy

Iyengar Yoga Exercises For Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 - YouTube

Improve the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes with Yoga Therapy

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga can do more than just relax your body in mind — especially if you’re living with diabetes. Certain poses may help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels while also improving circulation, leading many experts to recommend yoga for diabetes management.” – Emily Cronkleton

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States and nearly 600 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the numbers are growing. Type-2 Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. Diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is a common and increasingly prevalent illness that is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. A leading cause of this is a sedentary lifestyle. Unlike Type I Diabetes, Type II does not require insulin injections. Instead, the treatment and prevention of Type 2 Diabetes focuses on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes. A mindfulness practice that combines mindfulness with exercise is yoga and it has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of Type II Diabetes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impact of an Integrated Yoga Therapy Protocol on Insulin Resistance and Glycemic Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8798588/ ) Gowri and colleagues recruited adult patients with Type 2 diabetes and randomly assigned them to either receive twice weekly for 120 days sessions of yoga therapy or treatment as usual. Both groups received dietary advice. They were measured before treatment and 120 days later for body size and levels of insulin and lipids in the blood.

 

They found in comparison to baseline and the control group that the yoga therapy group had significantly lower body mass index (BMI), post-prandial and fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, insulin, insulin resistance, LDL cholesterol, and very-low density lipoproteins and higher levels of HDL cholesterol.

 

These are encouraging results that yoga therapy is a safe and effective treatment to improve the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Future research should compare yoga therapy to other forms of exercise.

 

Yoga therapy works predominantly by its ability to decrease the stress response, which in turn controls blood glucose levels. In addition, postures and other yogic techniques may benefit the function of abdominal organs like the pancreas via mechanical and energetic effects.” – Robyn Tiger

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Mangala Gowri, M., Rajendran, J., Srinivasan, A. R., Bhavanani, A. B., & Meena, R. (2022). Impact of an Integrated Yoga Therapy Protocol on Insulin Resistance and Glycemic Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Rambam Maimonides medical journal, 13(1), e0005. https://doi.org/10.5041/RMMJ.10462

 

Abstract

Objective

Diabetes mellitus (DM), characterized by chronic hyperglycemia, is attributed to relative insulin deficiency or resistance, or both. Studies have shown that yoga can modulate parameters of insulin resistance. The present study explored the possible beneficial effects of integrated yoga therapy with reference to glycemic control and insulin resistance (IR) in individuals with diabetes maintained on standard oral medical care with yoga therapy, compared to those on standard oral medical care alone.

Methods

In this study, the subjects on yoga intervention comprised 35 type 2 diabetics, and an equal number of volunteers constituted the control group. Subjects ranged in age from 30 to 70 years, with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test more than 7%, and were maintained on diabetic diet and oral hypoglycemic agents. Blood samples were drawn prior to and after 120 days of integrated yoga therapy intervention. Fasting blood glucose (FBG), post-prandial blood glucose (PPBG), HbA1c, insulin, and lipid profile were assessed in both the intervention and control groups.

Results

The intervention group revealed significant improvements in body mass index (BMI) (0.7 kg/m2 median decrease; P=0.001), FBG (20 mg/dL median decrease; P<0.001), PPBG (33 mg/dL median decrease; P<0.001), HbA1c (0.4% median decrease; P<0.001), homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (1.2 median decrease; P<0.001), cholesterol (13 mg/dL median decrease, P=0.006), triacylglycerol (22 mg/dL median decrease; P=0.027), low-density lipoprotein (6 mg/dL median decrease; P=0.004), and very-low-density lipoprotein levels (4 mg/dL median decrease; P=0.032). Increases in high-density lipoprotein after 120 days were not significant (6 mg/dL median increase; P=0.15). However, when compared to changes observed in patients in the control group, all these improvements proved to be significant.

Conclusion

Administration of integrated yoga therapy to individuals with diabetes leads to a significant improvement in glycemic control, insulin resistance, and key biochemical parameters.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8798588/

Meditation is an Effective Treatment for a Variety of Medical Conditions

Meditation is an Effective Treatment for a Variety of Medical Conditions

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is not a cure-all. . . . There have been thousands of studies showing that there are psychological and physical benefits to mindfulness meditation, but the intention . . . is not to cure the disease or fully treat the symptoms, but to treat the whole person — and that includes their mental and emotional well-being — so they can live in greater health and joy.” – Men’s Health

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that meditation has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Meditation appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

Over the last few decades, a vast amount of research has been published on the benefits of meditation on the mental and physical health of the practitioners. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Systematic Review for the Medical Applications of Meditation in Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8834867/ ) Kim and colleagues review and summarize the 104 published randomized controlled trials on the benefits of meditation practices on mental and physical well-being.

 

They report that the published research found that different studies report varying results but the most common significant benefits of meditation practice were improvements in fatigue, sleep quality, quality of life, stress, PTSD symptoms, blood pressure, intraocular pressure, and depression. In general yoga-based practices produced slightly better results than mindfulness based techniques,

 

Hence, meditation practices have been found to help improve mental and physical well-being.

 

meditation can improve mental health and reduce symptoms associated with chronic conditions.” – Ashley Welch

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kim, D. Y., Hong, S. H., Jang, S. H., Park, S. H., Noh, J. H., Seok, J. M., Jo, H. J., Son, C. G., & Lee, E. J. (2022). Systematic Review for the Medical Applications of Meditation in Randomized Controlled Trials. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(3), 1244. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031244

 

Abstract

Background: Meditation has been increasingly adapted for healthy populations and participants with diseases. Its beneficial effects are still challenging to determine due to the heterogeneity and methodological obstacles regarding medical applications. This study aimed to integrate the features of therapeutic meditation in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Methods: We conducted a systematic review of RCTs with meditation for populations with diseases using the PubMed database through June 2021. We analyzed the characteristics of the diseases/disorders, participants, measurements, and their overall benefits. Results: Among a total of 4855 references, 104 RCTs were determined and mainly applied mindfulness-based (51 RCTs), yoga-based (32 RCTs), and transcendental meditation (14 RCTs) to 10,139 patient-participants. These RCTs were conducted for participants with a total of 45 kinds of disorders; the most frequent being cancer, followed by musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases and affective mood disorder. Seven symptoms or signs were frequently assessed: depressive mood, feeling anxious, quality of life, stress, sleep, pain, and fatigue. The RCTs showed a higher ratio of positive outcomes for sleep (73.9%) and fatigue (68.4%). Conclusions: This systematic review produced the comprehensive features of RCTs for therapeutic meditation. These results will help physicians and researchers further study clinical adaptations in the future as reference data.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8834867/

 

Improve Inflammatory and Stress Responses with Yoga

Improve Inflammatory and Stress Responses with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“yoga could slow the harmful physical effects of stress and inflammaging.” – Harvard Health

 

The immune system is designed to protect the body from threats like stress, infection, injury, and toxic chemicals. One of its tools is the Inflammatory response. This response works quite well for short-term infections and injuries. But when inflammation is protracted and becomes chronic, it can itself become a threat to health. It can produce autoimmune diseases such as colitis, Chron’s disease, arthritis, heart disease, increased cancer risk, lung disease, sleep disruption, gum disease, decreased bone health, psoriasis, and depression. Indeed, the presence of chronic inflammation is associated with reduced longevity.

 

So, it is important for health to control the inflammatory response, allowing it to do its job in fighting off infection but reducing its activity when no external threat is apparent. Of course, it is far better to prevent chronic inflammation in the first place than to treat it later. Mind-body techniques such as yoga, Tai Chi and meditation have been shown to adaptively reduce the inflammatory response. The evidence is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The role of yoga in inflammatory markers. Brain, behavior, & immunity – health.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8842003/ ) Estevan and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effects of yoga practice on the inflammatory response.

 

They report that the published research found that yoga practice reduces the inflammatory response and stress hormones in a wide variety of conditions such a COPD, obesity cancer, and depression. So, the research suggests that yoga practice is an effective treatment to reduce the chronic inflammation.

 

Often, the precursor to illness is chronic inflammation. . . . Yoga — of various styles, intensities, and durations — reduced the biochemical markers of inflammation across several chronic conditions.” – Sarah Ezrin

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Estevao C. (2022). The role of yoga in inflammatory markers. Brain, behavior, & immunity – health, 20, 100421. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbih.2022.100421

 

Abstract

Yoga is an ancient system for integrating the mind, body, and spirit. In the hatha yoga ashtanga tradition (the eight limb Patanjali Yoga), three of the limbs are meditation, breathwork (pranayama) and physical postures (asana), which are widely practised in yoga classes. The benefits of yoga for mental and physical health are rooted in the practice’s origins: in yoga, stress is said to be the root of all diseases.

The established fields of psychoneuroimmunology and immunopsychiatry study the interplay between the immune system and mood or mental states. This mini-review has shifted the emphasis from research that focuses on yoga’s benefits for stress, the most commonly studied outcome of yoga research, to a summary of the research on the effects of yoga practices on the immune system. The current literature bears strong evidence for the benefits of yoga on the levels of circulating cortisol and classical inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and cytokines such as interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interferon-gamma (INF-γ). The evidence for other less studied markers, telomerase activity, β-endorphins, Immunoglobulin A (IgA) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is also growing. This mini-review centres around the interplay between yoga and these markers in stress management and depression, vascular and immune function in the older population, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, auto-immune diseases, breast cancer and pregnancy.

Overall, the literature examined reveals the novelty of this field of research and sheds light on methodological challenges; however, it uncovers the potential for yoga to be used as adjuvant therapy in conditions with an inflammatory component.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8842003/