Improve Arthritis in Older Adults with Seated Yoga

Improve Arthritis in Older Adults with Seated Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Chair yoga may help to reduce pain in older adults suffering from arthritis. Based around the ancient form of exercise, it allows people with reduced mobility to also take part. It helps to boost the strength and flexibility of older people and could become an effective treatment for those with the debilitating condition.” Stephen Matthews

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.

 

There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that alternative and complementary practices that involve gentle knee movements may be useful for treatment.

 

Mindfulness practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong  and yoga have been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritisYoga, has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of physical and psychological conditions, including arthritis. But, people with lower extremity osteoarthritis have difficulty with balance making standing postures problematic. So, it would seem reasonable to look into the effectiveness of yoga practice performed while sitting in a chair in treating knee osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Chair Yoga on Pain and Physical Function Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Lower Extremity Osteoarthritis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5357158/ ), Park and colleagues recruited older adults (>65 years of age) with osteoarthritis of the lower extremity joints; hip, knee; ankle, and foot. They were randomly assigned to either receive health education or seated Hatha yoga practice. Both Health Education and yoga was practiced for 45 minutes twice a week for 8 weeks and home practice was encouraged. The participants were measured before and after treatment and at a 1-month and 3-month follow-up for pain interference in everyday activities, fatigue, balance, walking speed, pain, and functional ability.

 

They found that after the 8-weeks of practice and at the 1- and 3-month follow-ups, the yoga group had significantly greater reductions in pain, pain interference in daily activities, fatigue, and walking speed. There were no significant adverse events observed. Hence, practicing yoga while seated was well tolerated and safe and produced significant improvements in the symptoms of lower extremity osteoarthritis in elderly adults. This suggests that seated yoga practice may be a welcome, safe and effective alternative to pharmacologic or surgical treatment for osteoarthritis in the elderly.

 

So, improve arthritis in older adults with seated Yoga.

 

“The potential impact of this study on public health is high, as this program provides an approach for keeping community-dwelling elders active even when they cannot participate in traditional exercise that challenges their balance,” – Patricia Liehr

 

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

 

Park, J., McCaffrey, R., Newman, D., Liehr, P., & Ouslander, J. G. (2017). A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Chair Yoga on Pain and Physical Function Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Lower Extremity Osteoarthritis. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(3), 592–597. http://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.14717

 

Abstract

Objectives

To determine effects of Sit ‘N’ Fit Chair Yoga, compared to a Health Education program (HEP), on pain and physical function in older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis (OA) who could not participate in standing exercise

Design

Two-arm randomized controlled trial

Setting

One HUD senior housing facility and one day senior center in south Florida

Participants

Community-dwelling older adults (N = 131) were randomly assigned to chair yoga (n = 66) or HEP (n = 65). Thirteen dropped after assignment but prior to the intervention; 6 dropped during the intervention; 106 of 112 completed at least 12 of 16 sessions (95% retention rate).

Interventions

Participants attended either chair yoga or HEP. Both interventions consisted of twice-weekly 45-minute sessions for 8 weeks.

Measurements

Primary: pain, pain interference; secondary: balance, gait speed, fatigue, functional ability measured at baseline, after 4 weeks of intervention, at the end of the 8-week intervention, and post-intervention (1 and 3 months).

Results

The chair yoga group showed greater reduction in pain interference during the intervention (p = .01), sustained through 3 months (p = .022). WOMAC pain (p = .048), gait speed (p = .024), and fatigue (p = .037) were improved in the yoga group during the intervention (p = .048) but improvements were not sustained post intervention. Chair yoga had no effect on balance.

Conclusion

An 8-week chair yoga program was associated with reduction in pain, pain interference, and fatigue, and improvement in gait speed, but only the effects on pain interference were sustained 3 months post intervention. Chair yoga should be further explored as a nonpharmacologic intervention for older people with OA in the lower extremities.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5357158/

 

Improve College Students Responses to Stress with Yoga

Improve College Students Responses to Stress with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga is a practice of uniting the mind and physical body as one. It combines breathing exercise, meditation, and physical positions. This combination is believed to reduce many physical and mental ailments that are caused by stress.” – Rebecca Chasar

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on students to excel so that they can be admitted to the best universities and there is a lot of pressure on university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. As a result, parents and students are constantly looking for ways to improve student performance in school. The primary tactic has been to pressure the student and clear away routine tasks and chores so that the student can focus on their studies. But, this might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices including meditation, mindfulness training, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. In, addition, exercise if also know to reduce responses to stress. But, nearly half of college students are physically inactive. So, yoga, which is both a mindfulness practice and a physical activity should be particularly effective.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psychophysiological effects of yoga on stress in college students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5868218/  ), Tripathi and colleagues review the published research literature on the effectiveness of yoga practice to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress in college students.

 

They report yoga training has been found to reduce autonomic arousal, reducing sympathetic nervous system activity and increasing parasympathetic nervous system activity. Since, physiological arousal is characteristic of stress responding, yoga practice reduces this physiological marker of stress. Yoga practice reduces perceived stress, tension, sleepiness, worry, and negative emotions and increases relaxation, mental quiet, peace, rest, strength, awareness and joy, thereby improving psychological well-being. Hence, the existing research suggests that yoga practice may be valuable in helping college students cope with the physical and mental consequences of stress and thereby improve their performance in school.

 

So, improve college students responses to stress with yoga.

 

“As science continues to understand the negative effects of stress on our mental and physical bodies, techniques like meditation and yoga that were once considered fringe are becoming prolifically mainstream.  If we can begin to understand and utilize these techniques before stress becomes an issue, then these tools can be even more valuable.” – Kelly Golden

 

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

 

Tripathi, M. N., Kumari, S., & Ganpat, T. S. (2018). Psychophysiological effects of yoga on stress in college students. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 7, 43. http://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_74_17

 

Abstract

College students are vulnerable to a critical period in developmental maturation, facing rigorous academic work, and learning how to function independently. Physical activities such as running and bicycling have been shown to improve mood and relieve stress. However, college students often have low levels of physical activity. Yoga is an ancient physical and mental activity that affects mood and stress. However, studies examining the psychophysiological effects of yoga are rare in peer-reviewed journals. The aim of this study is to establish preliminary evidence for the psychophysiological effects of yoga on stress in young-adult college students. The present study suggests that yoga has positive effects on a psychophysiological level that leads to decreased levels of stress in college student. Further research is needed to examine the extent to which different types of yogic practices address the needs of different college subpopulations (e.g., overweight, sedentary, and smokers).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5868218/

Improve Psychological and Physical Health During Cancer Treatment with Yoga

Improve Psychological and Physical Health During Cancer Treatment with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga for cancer patients—what better way to manage anxiety, gain strength, increase flexibility, and create feelings of well-being! A growing body of research points to the potential of yoga for supporting cancer patients, both during and after treatment.” – Tari Prinster

 

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. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. Yoga practice is a form of mindfulness training that has been shown to be beneficial for cancer patients. In today’s Research News article “Review of Yoga Therapy During Cancer Treatment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5777241/ ), Danhauer and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the application of yoga practice to the treatment of cancer patients undergoing treatment. They identified 12 non-randomized and 13 randomized published clinical trials.

 

They found that the research reports that yoga practice improves the psychological and physical health of cancer patients undergoing treatment. These include psychological improvements in anxiety, depression, mood, negative affect, relaxation, overall mental health, cognition, spiritual well-being, social support, self-efficacy, and coping, and physical improvements in overall health, physical quality of life, fatigue, invigoration, sleep, most-bothersome symptom, and upregulation of genes involved in immunity.

 

These are impressive results that strongly suggest that yoga practice is of great benefit to cancer patients undergoing treatment. It appears to be safe, with few if any negative side effects, be acceptable for patients undergoing treatment, and to improve the patients’ mental and physical health.

 

Yoga practice is generally complex, involving a number of components including, postures, meditation, breathing exercises, and chanting. It is unclear from the research which ones or which combinations of these components are responsible for the benefits. It remains for future research to better clarify how yoga functions to produce these remarkable benefits for cancer patients. Such a clarification could lead to improved and more targeted practices.

 

So, improve psychological and physical health during cancer treatment with yoga.

 

“Cancer patients who practice yoga as therapy during their treatment often refer to their yoga practice as a life-saver. The healing power of yoga helps both cancer patients and cancer survivors. No matter how sick from treatments and no matter how little energy, many find that the one thing that would bring relief were a gentle set of therapeutic yoga poses geared for cancer patients.” – Yoga U

 

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

 

Danhauer, S. C., Addington, E. L., Sohl, S. J., Chaoul, A., & Cohen, L. (2017). Review of Yoga Therapy During Cancer Treatment. Supportive Care in Cancer : Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 25(4), 1357–1372. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-016-3556-9

 

Abstract

Purpose

Reviews of yoga research that distinguish results of trials conducted during (versus after) cancer treatment are needed to guide future research and clinical practice. We therefore conducted a review of non-randomized studies and randomized controlled trials of yoga interventions for children and adults undergoing treatment for any cancer type.

Methods

Studies were identified via research databases and reference lists. Inclusion criteria: (1) children or adults undergoing cancer treatment; (2) intervention stated as yoga or component of yoga; and (3) publication in English in peer-reviewed journals through October 2015. Exclusion criteria: (1) samples receiving hormone therapy only; (2) interventions involving only meditation; and (3) yoga delivered within broader cancer recovery or mindfulness-based stress reduction programs.

Results

Results of non-randomized (adult: n=8, pediatric: n=4) and randomized controlled trials (adult: n=13, pediatric: n=0) conducted during cancer treatment are summarized separately by age group. Findings most consistently support improvement in psychological outcomes (e.g., depression, distress, anxiety). Several studies also found that yoga enhanced quality of life, though further investigation is needed to clarify domain-specific efficacy (e.g., physical, social, cancer-specific). Regarding physical and biomedical outcomes, evidence increasingly suggests that yoga ameliorates sleep and fatigue; additional research is needed to advance preliminary findings for other treatment sequelae and stress/immunity biomarkers.

Conclusions

Among adults undergoing cancer treatment, evidence supports recommending yoga for improving psychological outcomes, with potential for also improving physical symptoms. Evidence is insufficient to evaluate the efficacy of yoga in pediatric oncology. We describe suggestions for strengthening yoga research methodology to inform clinical practice guidelines.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5777241/

 

Relieve Major Depression with Yoga

Relieve Major Depression with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“for many patients dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress, yoga may be a very appealing way to better manage symptoms. Indeed, the scientific study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just closely allied, but are essentially equivalent. The evidence is growing that yoga practice is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health.” – Harvard Mental Health Letter

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. It is also generally episodic, coming and going. Some people only have a single episode but most have multiple reoccurrences of depression.  Depression can be difficult to treat. It is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But, drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression. Even after remission some symptoms of depression may still be present (residual symptoms).

 

Being depressed and not responding to treatment or relapsing is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering and nothing appears to work to relieve their intense depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative that other treatments be identified that can relieve the suffering. Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.  Another effective alternative treatment is exercise. But it is difficult to get depressed people, who lack energy, to engage in regular exercise. Yoga is a contemplative practice that is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression and even yogic breathing alone has been found to be effective. So, the combination of yoga practice with breathing exercises should be particularly effective.

 

In today’s Research News article “Adjunctive yoga vs. health education for persistent major depression: a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5548599/ ), Uebelacker and colleagues recruited patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) who were being treated with antidepressant medications and randomly assigned them to receive either 10 weeks of Hatha Yoga or a Health Education Workshop. Yoga classes included breathing exercises, meditation, and postures, and met for 80 minutes, twice a week for 10 weeks. Participants were encouraged to also practice at home. Health education classes included presentations on alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine; being a smart patient; brain diseases; cancer prevention; diabetes; nutrition; germs, colds, and the flu; physical activity; sleep; physical pain, prevalence and causes of depression; and protecting your heart and met for 60 minutes, twice a week for 10 weeks. Participants were encouraged to also study at home. Participants were measured before and after treatment and 3 and 6 months later for depression, physical health, and physical activity.

 

They found that at the end of training there was no significant difference between the groups in depression, but over the following 3 and 6 months, the yoga practice group significantly decreased in depression levels with moderate effect size while the health education group did not. In addition, over the 3 and 6 months follow-up period a greater percentage of participants in the yoga group no longer met the criterion for clinical depression. There were no significant changes in physical health and no adverse events recorded. So, yoga practice was found to be a safe and effective for major depression even in combination with antidepressant medication.

 

It is important to note that the yoga group continued to practice at home after the 10 week training period averaging 36 and 34 minutes of practice per week over the 3 and 6 months follow-up periods. It is not known but suspected that the improvements in depression over this period may have been due to the continued practice. It is also important to note that this study was of excellent quality with an equivalent control condition. This is rare in this kind of research and greatly strengthens the conclusions. Hence, it appears that yoga practice helps to relieve depression in patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) even with continued antidepressant medication.

 

So, relieve major depression with yoga.

 

“yoga classes dramatically reduced levels of depression—so much so that afterward most of the research subjects wouldn’t have qualified as depressed enough to participate in the study in the first place.” – Jessica Berger Gross

 

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

 

Uebelacker, L. A., Tremont, G., Gillette, L. T., Epstein-Lubow, G., Strong, D. R., Abrantes, A. M., … Miller, I. W. (2017). Adjunctive yoga vs. health education for persistent major depression: a randomized controlled trial. Psychological Medicine, 47(12), 2130–2142. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291717000575

 

Abstract

Background

The objective of this study was to determine whether hatha yoga is an efficacious adjunctive intervention for individuals with continued depressive symptoms despite antidepressant treatment.

Methods

We conducted a randomized controlled trial of weekly yoga classes (n = 63) vs. health education classes (Healthy Living Workshop, or HLW; n = 59) in individuals with elevated depression symptoms and antidepressant medication use. HLW served as an attention-control group. The intervention period was 10 weeks, with follow-up assessments 3 and 6 months afterwards. The primary outcome was depression symptom severity assessed by blind rater at 10 weeks. Secondary outcomes included depression symptoms over the entire intervention and follow-up periods, social and role functioning, general health perceptions, pain, and physical functioning.

Results

At 10 weeks, we did not find a statistically significant difference between groups in depression symptoms (b=−0.82, SE=0.88, p=0.36). However, over the entire intervention and follow-up period, when controlling for baseline, yoga participants showed lower levels of depression than HLW participants (b = −1.38, SE = 0.57, p = 0.02). Fifty-one percent of yoga participants demonstrated a response (≥ 50% reduction in depression symptoms) at 6 month-follow-up, compared to 31% of HLW participants (OR = 2.31; p = 0.04). Yoga participants showed significantly better social and role functioning and general health perceptions over time.

Conclusions

Although we did not see a difference in depression symptoms at the end of the intervention period, yoga participants showed fewer depression symptoms over the entire follow-up period. Benefits of yoga may accumulate over time.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5548599/

 

Reduce Substance Abuse with Yoga

Reduce Substance Abuse with Yoga

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When people take substances, they’re seeking a certain experience, whether it’s escapist or transcendental or just wanting a different psychological state, to get away from whatever is making them unhappy. Yoga is an alternative, a positive way to generate a change in consciousness that, instead of providing an escape, empowers people with the ability to access a peaceful, restorative inner state that integrates mind, body, and spirit.” – Sat Bir Khalsa

 

Substance abuse is a major health and social problem. There are estimated 22.2 million people in the U.S. with substance dependence. It is estimated that worldwide there are nearly ¼ million deaths yearly as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma. In the U.S. about 17 million people abuse alcohol. Drunk driving fatalities accounted for over 10,000 deaths annually. “Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion a year. In 2013, an estimated 17.8% (42.1 million) U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers.”  (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

 

Obviously, there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat substance abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to both treat substance abuse disorders and to prevent relapses. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictions. Yoga is a mindfulness practice that has documented benefits for the individual’s psychological and physical health and well-being. There has been a paucity of studies, however, on the use of yoga practice to treat substance abuse.

 

In today’s Research News article “Role of Yoga in Management of Substance-use Disorders: A Narrative Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812135/ ), Kuppili and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the application of yoga practice for the treatment of substance abuse. They found 16 studies, 12 of which were randomized controlled trials.

 

There were 9 studies of yoga practice as a treatment for nicotine (smoking) addiction. These studies reported that yoga practice increased the desire to quit smoking, reduced cravings for cigarettes, and assisted in quitting. There were, however, mixed findings on the duration of these effects. There were 3 studies of yoga practice as a treatment for alcohol use disorders. These studies reported that yoga practice was helpful in reducing alcohol intake and depression. There were 3 studies of yoga practice as a treatment for opioid use disorders. These studies reported that yoga practice for patients undergoing treatment improved mood states and quality of life. There was only 1 study of yoga practice as a treatment for cocaine use disorder and reported improvements in perceived stress and quality of life.

 

The studies reviewed suggest that yoga practice may be of use in the treatment of substance use disorders particularly in improving the psychological state of patients under treatment and perhaps reducing cravings. There is obviously, though, a need for more studies with larger samples and with long-term follow-up. Yoga practice does not appear to a magical cure for substance abuse but may be helpful to the patient in kicking the habit. Clearly yoga practice has substantial psychological and physical benefits for practitioners and these in combination with its helpfulness for the treatment of substance abuse make it a reasonable choice for improving he well-being of patients with these disorders.

 

“Yoga is a complementary, or adjunct, health practice that is often considered a natural form of medicine. Adjunct means “in addition to,” and not “in place of.” Yoga is often beneficial when used in tandem with other traditional substance abuse treatment methods.” – American Addiction Centers

 

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

 

Pooja Patnaik Kuppili, Arpit Parmar, Ankit Gupta, Yatan Pal Singh Balhara. Role of Yoga in Management of Substance-use Disorders: A Narrative Review. J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2018 Jan-Mar; 9(1): 117–122. doi: 10.4103/jnrp.jnrp_243_17

 

Abstract

Substance use disorders are comparable to chronic medical illnesses and have a chronic relapsing course. Despite being significant contributors to morbidity and mortality, limited treatment options exist. The current narrative review was aimed at providing an overview of yoga therapy in substance-use disorders and discuss the relevant methodological issues. Articles published in English language till May 2017 indexed with PubMed, PubMed central, and Google Scholar were searched using search terms “Yoga,” “Substance use,” “Drug dependence,” “Nicotine,” “Tobacco,” “Alcohol,” “Opioids,” “Cannabis,” “Cocaine,” “Stimulants,” “Sedative hypnotics,” “Inhalants,” and “Hallucinogens” for inclusion in the review. A total of 314 studies were found fulfilling the stated criteria. Out of which, 16 studies were found to fulfill the inclusion and exclusion criteria and 12 were randomized control trials. The majority of studies were available on the role of yoga in management of nicotine dependence. Sample size of these studies ranged from 18 to 624. The majority of studies suggested the role of yoga in reducing substance use as well as substance-related craving (especially in nicotine-use disorders) in short term. However, more studies are required for demonstrating the long-term effects of yoga therapy in substance-use disorder.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812135/

 

Relieve Tinnitus with Yoga

Relieve Tinnitus with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“With this new research we now know that regular yoga practice can reduce these symptoms and tinnitus without medication.” – Barry Keate

 

Tinnitus is one of the most common symptoms to affect humanity. People with tinnitus live with a phantom noise that can range from a low hiss or ringing to a loud roar or squeal which can be present constantly or intermittently. It can have a significant impact on people’s ability to hear, concentrate, or even participate in everyday activities. The vast majority of people with tinnitus have what is known as subjective tinnitus. This is caused by unknown problems somewhere in the auditory system; the inner, middle, or outer ear, the part of the brain that translates nerve signals as sounds, or the auditory nerves.

 

Approximately 25 million to 50 million people in the United States experience it to some degree. Approximately 16 million people seek medical attention for their tinnitus, and for up to two million patients, debilitating tinnitus interferes with their daily lives. There are a number of treatments for tinnitus including, counseling, sound therapy, drugs, and even brain stimulation. Unfortunately, none of these treatments is very effective. Mindfulness practices have been shown to be effective in treating Tinnitus. Hence there is a need to further explore the various forms of mindfulness practices as alternative treatments for tinnitus.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Yoga in Patients Suffering from Subjective Tinnitus.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5786150/ ), Köksoy and colleagues recruited tinnitus patients and provided them with yoga instruction for an hour once a week for 12 weeks. The practice consisted of postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation. The participants were instructed to practice as often as possible at home. They were measured before and after yoga practice for tinnitus severity, the everyday and emotional handicap produced by tinnitus, and stress symptoms produced by tinnitus.

 

They found that after the yoga practice there was a large, 58%, and significant reduction in tinnitus severity, a 44% reduction in the handicap produced by tinnitus, and a 21% reduction in the stress produced by tinnitus, including the psychological, physical, and pain facets of tinnitus produced stress. Hence the yoga practice was very effective in improving the symptoms of tinnitus.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a comparison (control) condition present in the study. So, the results should be viewed as preliminary and a proof of concept. In addition, 1//3 of the original patient sample dropped out during the study. Nevertheless, the results provide a clear rationale for the performance of a large randomized controlled clinical trial of yoga for tinnitus. Tinnitus is such a widespread problem with few treatment options that a non-invasive and non-drug treatment that is safe and effective, would be a great step forward in relieving the suffering produced by this mysterious disease.

 

So, relieve tinnitus with yoga.

 

Tinnitus sufferers will definitely be able to benefit from this type of yoga because of how relaxing it is and also beneficial in terms of overall health. When people who have tinnitus are more relaxed and less tense, they have a tendency to not perceive the ringing or buzzing sounds which they usually hear as much. Although this may not be a definitive cure for tinnitus, it is a rather good treatment option to explore.” – Ramdev Yoga

 

 

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

 

Sümbüle Köksoy, Can Mehmet Eti, Meltem Karataş, Yusuf Vayisoglu. The Effects of Yoga in Patients Suffering from Subjective Tinnitus. Int Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2018 Jan; 22(1): 9–13. Published online 2017 Apr 3. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1601415

 

Abstract

Introduction  Tinnitus is a perception of sound in the absence of an external source and it is a distressing issue. Yoga is a system of mind-body practices with the goal of uniting the body, mind and soul. It has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, as well as improving the quality of life.

Objective  The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of yoga in patients suffering from chronic subjective tinnitus.

Methods  Twelve subjects previously diagnosed with chronic subjective tinnitus were selected for the study. The patients were asked to attend to yoga classes once a week and to practice yoga at home using a worksheet for 3 months. Each yoga class consisted of body exercises (asana), breathing (pranayama) and meditation (shavasana and yoga nidra). Tinnitus scores before and after the yoga classes were compared using the Wilcoxon test.

Results  Among the 12 patients, there were 4 men and 8 women and their mean age was 52.5 years. The median duration of tinnitus among the group was 5.4 years. There were statistically significant differences in the stress ( p  = 0.01), handicap ( p  = 0.004) and severity ( p  = 0.007) questionnaires scores.

Conclusion  This study indicated that yoga practices may reduce life stress and symptoms of subjective tinnitus.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5786150/

Reduce Low Back Pain with Yoga

Reduce Low Back Pain with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For most of our lives, we take our backs for granted. But at some point in just about everyone’s life, our backs revolt and remind us that they need love and attention too. Thankfully, for many of us, the pain is only temporary. But for others, it can be much more debilitating—and much more frustrating. In severe cases, medical attention may be necessary, but if your pain is less severe, yoga may be able to help by strengthening the back, stretching it and improving circulation to the spine and nerves.” – Liz Rosenblum

 

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. 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 pain. Yoga 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 therapy for chronic low back pain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga treatment for chronic non-specific low back pain.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5294833/ ), Wieland and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies that examined the effectiveness of yoga practice for the treatment of chronic low back pain. They discovered only 12 published research studies on the subject. They reported that the studies found that yoga practice in comparison to no-exercise control conditions produced small but significant improvements in pain and back function that were maintained for 6 months. This demonstrates that yoga practice is effective for back pain but does not allow for a determination of whether exercise in general or yoga specifically was effective. So, they looked at studies of yoga practice in comparison to other forms of exercise and found that yoga practice produced small but significantly better improvements than other exercises in pain but equivalent improvements in back function. When yoga practice was combined with other exercises it did not produce significantly greater benefits than exercise alone.

 

The summary suggests that yoga practice and other exercises are safe and effective treatments for chronic low back pain that can produce lasting improvements in pain and back function. They found evidence that yoga practice may be slightly better than other exercises in reducing pain, but there is no additional benefit of combining yoga with other exercises. Hence, yoga practice is an acceptable, safe, and effective alternative to drug and surgical treatments that has small but significant benefits for the relief to the suffering of people with chronic low back pain.

 

So, reduce low back pain with Yoga.

 

“a structured yoga program may be an alternative to physical therapy for people with chronic low-back pain, depending on individual preferences, availability, and cost.” – NCCIH

 

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

 

Wieland, L. S., Skoetz, N., Pilkington, K., Vempati, R., D’Adamo, C. R., & Berman, B. M. (2017). Yoga treatment for chronic non-specific low back pain. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 1, CD010671. http://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD010671.pub2

 

Abstract

Background

Non-specific low back pain is a common, potentially disabling condition usually treated with self-care and non-prescription medication. For chronic low back pain, current guidelines state that exercise therapy may be beneficial. Yoga is a mind-body exercise sometimes used for non-specific low back pain.

Objectives

To assess the effects of yoga for treating chronic non-specific low back pain, compared to no specific treatment, a minimal intervention (e.g. education), or another active treatment, with a focus on pain, function, and adverse events.

Search methods

We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, five other databases and four trials registers to 11 March 2016 without restriction of language or publication status. We screened reference lists and contacted experts in the field to identify additional studies.

Selection criteria

We included randomized controlled trials of yoga treatment in people with chronic non-specific low back pain. We included studies comparing yoga to any other intervention or to no intervention. We also included studies comparing yoga as an adjunct to other therapies, versus those other therapies alone.

Data collection and analysis

Two authors independently screened and selected studies, extracted outcome data, and assessed risk of bias. We contacted study authors to obtain missing or unclear information. We evaluated the overall certainty of evidence using the GRADE approach.

Main results

We included 12 trials (1080 participants) carried out in the USA (seven trials), India (three trials), and the UK (two trials). Studies were unfunded (one trial), funded by a yoga institution (one trial), funded by non-profit or government sources (seven trials), or did not report on funding (three trials). Most trials used Iyengar, Hatha, or Viniyoga forms of yoga. The trials compared yoga to no intervention or a non-exercise intervention such as education (seven trials), an exercise intervention (three trials), or both exercise and non-exercise interventions (two trials). All trials were at high risk of performance and detection bias because participants and providers were not blinded to treatment assignment, and outcomes were self-assessed. Therefore, we downgraded all outcomes to ‘moderate’ certainty evidence because of risk of bias, and when there was additional serious risk of bias, unexplained heterogeneity between studies, or the analyses were imprecise, we downgraded the certainty of the evidence further.

For yoga compared to non-exercise controls (9 trials; 810 participants), there was low-certainty evidence that yoga produced small to moderate improvements in back-related function at three to four months (standardized mean difference (SMD) −0.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.66 to −0.14; corresponding to a change in the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire of mean difference (MD) −2.18, 95% −3.60 to −0.76), moderate-certainty evidence for small to moderate improvements at six months (SMD −0.44, 95% CI −0.66 to −0.22; corresponding to a change in the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire of MD −2.15, 95% −3.23 to −1.08), and low-certainty evidence for small improvements at 12 months (SMD −0.26, 95% CI −0.46 to −0.05; corresponding to a change in the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire of MD −1.36, 95% −2.41 to −0.26). On a 0–100 scale there was very low- to moderate-certainty evidence that yoga was slightly better for pain at three to four months (MD −4.55, 95% CI −7.04 to −2.06), six months (MD −7.81, 95% CI −13.37 to −2.25), and 12 months (MD −5.40, 95% CI −14.50 to −3.70), however we pre-defined clinically significant changes in pain as 15 points or greater and this threshold was not met. Based on information from six trials, there was moderate-certainty evidence that the risk of adverse events, primarily increased back pain, was higher in yoga than in non-exercise controls (risk difference (RD) 5%, 95% CI 2% to 8%).

For yoga compared to non-yoga exercise controls (4 trials; 394 participants), there was very-low-certainty evidence for little or no difference in back-related function at three months (SMD −0.22, 95% CI −0.65 to 0.20; corresponding to a change in the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire of MD −0.99, 95% −2.87 to 0.90) and six months (SMD −0.20, 95% CI −0.59 to 0.19; corresponding to a change in the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire of MD −0.90, 95% −2.61 to 0.81), and no information on back-related function after six months. There was very low-certainty evidence for lower pain on a 0–100 scale at seven months (MD −20.40, 95% CI −25.48 to −15.32), and no information on pain at three months or after seven months. Based on information from three trials, there was low-certainty evidence for no difference in the risk of adverse events between yoga and non-yoga exercise controls (RD 1%, 95% CI −4% to 6%).

For yoga added to exercise compared to exercise alone (1 trial; 24 participants), there was very-low-certainty evidence for little or no difference at 10 weeks in back-related function (SMD −0.60, 95% CI −1.42 to 0.22; corresponding to a change in the Oswestry Disability Index of MD −17.05, 95% −22.96 to 11.14) or pain on a 0–100 scale (MD −3.20, 95% CI −13.76 to 7.36). There was no information on outcomes at other time points. There was no information on adverse events.

Studies provided limited evidence on risk of clinical improvement, measures of quality of life, and depression. There was no evidence on work-related disability.

Authors’ conclusions

There is low- to moderate-certainty evidence that yoga compared to non-exercise controls results in small to moderate improvements in back-related function at three and six months. Yoga may also be slightly more effective for pain at three and six months, however the effect size did not meet predefined levels of minimum clinical importance. It is uncertain whether there is any difference between yoga and other exercise for back-related function or pain, or whether yoga added to exercise is more effective than exercise alone. Yoga is associated with more adverse events than non-exercise controls, but may have the same risk of adverse events as other back-focused exercise. Yoga is not associated with serious adverse events. There is a need for additional high-quality research to improve confidence in estimates of effect, to evaluate long-term outcomes, and to provide additional information on comparisons between yoga and other exercise for chronic non-specific low back pain.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5294833/

Improve Social and Emotional Skills in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Yoga

Improve Social and Emotional Skills in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“in addition to benefits typically associated with yoga—improved strength and flexibility, and an increasing sense of peace—autistic children also experience a reduction of pain, anxiety, aggression, obsessive behaviors, and self-stimulatory activities. And there’s more good news. The children are also having greater success making new friends and regulating emotions.” – Hannah Brandstaetter

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that tends to appear during early childhood and affect the individual throughout their lifetime. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others, delays learning of language, makes eye contact or holding a conversation difficult, impairs reasoning and planning, narrows and intensifies interests, produces poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities, and is frequently associated with sleep and gastrointestinal problems. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been increasing markedly over the last couple of decades. It is currently estimated that over 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Centers for Disease Control estimates that in the U.S. 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

 

ASD is a serious disorder that impairs the individual’s ability to lead independent lives including completing an education, entering relationships or finding and holding employment. Its causes are unknown and there are no known cures. Treatment is generally directed at symptoms and can include behavioral therapies and drug treatments. Clearly, there is a need for effective treatment options. Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful in treating ASD. Exercise has also been shown to help relieve some of the symptoms of ASD. It stands to reason, then, that the combination of mindfulness training and exercise provided by yoga practice would be effective for the symptoms of ASD.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of multimodal mandala yoga on social and emotional skills for youth with autism spectrum disorder: An exploratory study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=1;spage=59;epage=65;aulast=Litchke), Litchke and colleagues performed an exploratory pilot study of the effectiveness of a yoga program specially tailored for children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Five boys, aged 8 – 13 years, with ASD were recruited and provided with 2 guided 60-minute group yoga sessions per week for 4 weeks. The participants sat in a circle and were led in “Multimodal Mandala yoga comprised 26 circular partner/group poses, color and tracing sheets, rhythmic chanting, yoga cards, and games.” Before and after training they were measured for social skills and facial/emotional mood.

 

They found that after training the boys had significant improvements in social skills, including response to initiation, initiating interaction, and affective understanding and perspective taking. In addition, qualitative analysis of narrative notes made by the program helpers suggested that there were improvements, after yoga training, in the boys’ mood and emotional expression, teamwork, and empathy toward others. These results suggest that the yoga program enhanced the social and emotional behaviors of the boys with ASD. The yoga program appeared to improve skills needed for developing positive relationships with others.

 

These results must be taken as preliminary and no clear conclusions can be reached as this was an uncontrolled pilot study. But the results provide clear support for conducting a larger randomized controlled clinical trial. Improving social skills and emotional responding is very important for boys with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to be able to better navigate their environment and carry on successful lives. These pilot results provide hope that yoga practice may be helpful.

 

So, improve social and emotional skills in youth with autism spectrum disorder with yoga.

 

“Children with autism and special needs can learn coping strategies through the practice of yoga so they may live calmer, happier, more peaceful and healthier lives.”

 

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

 

Litchke LG, Liu T, Castro S. Effects of multimodal mandala yoga on social and emotional skills for youth with autism spectrum disorder: An exploratory study. Int J Yoga 2018;11:59-65

 

Context: Youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrates impairment in the ability to socially and emotionally relate to others that can limit participation in groups, interaction with peers, and building successful life relationships. Aims: The aim of this exploratory study was to examine the effects of a novel multimodal Mandala yoga program on social and emotional skills for youth with ASD. Subjects and Methods: Five males with ASD attended 1 h yoga sessions, twice a week for 4 weeks. Multimodal Mandala yoga comprised 26 circular partner/group poses, color and tracing sheets, rhythmic chanting, yoga cards, and games. Treatment and Research Institute for ASD Social Skills Assessment (TSSA) scores were collected before and after the eight yoga sessions. The Modified Facial Mood Scale (MFMS) was used to observe mood changes before and after each yoga class. Paired sample t-tests were conducted on TSSA and MFMS scores to compare social and emotional differences post the 4-week camp. Narrative field notes were documented after each of the eight yoga sessions. Results: A significant improvement from pre- to post-test was found in overall TSSA (t(4) = −5.744, P = 0.005) and on respondent to initiation (t(4) = −3.726, P = 0.020), initiating interaction (t(4) = −8.5, P = 0.039), and affective understanding and perspective taking subscales (t(4) = −5.171 P = 0.007). Youth’s MFMS scores increased from 80% to 100% at the end of eight yoga sessions demonstrating a pleasant or positive mood. Thematic analysis of the narrative notes identified three key factors associated with the yoga experience: (a) enhanced mood and emotional expression, (b) increased empathy toward others, and (c) improved teamwork skills. Conclusion: This multimodal Mandala yoga training has implication for developing positive social and emotional skills for youth with ASD.

http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=1;spage=59;epage=65;aulast=Litchke

Improve Physical and Psychological Well-Being with Cancer with Yoga

Improve Physical and Psychological Well-Being with Cancer with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For those enduring chemotherapy and radiation, yoga for cancer provides a means to strengthen the body, boost the immune system, and produce a much-sought-after feeling of well-being. For those recovering from surgery, such as that for breast cancer, yoga can help restore motion and flexibility in a gentle, balanced manner.” – Yoga U

 

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. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis.

 

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. It is estimated that 15 million adults and children with a history of cancer are alive in the United States today. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” National Cancer Survivors Day.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. In today’s Research News article “Yoga into cancer care: A review of the evidence-based research.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=1;spage=3;epage=29;aulast=Agarwal), Agarwal and Maroko-Afek review and summarize the published research literature on the effects of yoga practice on the physical and psychological symptoms of cancer diagnosis. They found 138 published studies with patients suffering from cancer and cancer treatment-related symptoms and side effects.

 

They found that yoga practice had widespread positive benefits for the psychological state and quality of life of the patients including reductions in anxiety, depression, anger, stress, PTSD symptoms, fear of reoccurrence, delirium, memory and concentration problems, and increases in self-esteem and social function. They also found that the literature demonstrated that yoga practice reduced a wide variety of physical symptoms of cancer or cancer treatment, including cardiovascular and pulmonary problems, inflammation, sleep and sexual dysfunctions, urinary and bladder problems, and skin and hair problems.

 

Hence, the published research makes a compelling case for the addition of yoga practice to the usual treatment of cancer. It is a safe, effective, and inexpensive treatment, with profound benefits for the psychological and physical health and quality of life of cancer patients.

 

So, improve physical and psychological well-being with cancer with yoga.

 

“Yoga for cancer patients—what better way to manage anxiety, gain strength, increase flexibility, and create feelings of well-being! A growing body of research points to the potential of yoga for supporting cancer patients, both during and after treatment.” – Tari Prinster

 

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

 

Agarwal RP, Maroko-Afek A. Yoga into cancer care: A review of the evidence-based research. Int J Yoga 2018;11:3-29

 

Abstract

To cope with cancer and its treatment-related side effects and toxicities, people are increasingly using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Consequently, integrative oncology, which combines conventional therapies and evidence-based CAM practices, is an emerging discipline in cancer care. The use of yoga as a CAM is proving to be beneficial and increasingly gaining popularity. An electronic database search (PubMed), through December 15, 2016, revealed 138 relevant clinical trials (single-armed, nonrandomized, and randomized controlled trials) on the use of yoga in cancer patients. A total of 10,660 cancer patients from 20 countries were recruited in these studies. Regardless of some methodological deficiencies, most of the studies reported that yoga improved the physical and psychological symptoms, quality of life, and markers of immunity of the patients, providing a strong support for yoga’s integration into conventional cancer care. This review article presents the published clinical research on the prevalence of yoga’s use in cancer patients so that oncologists, researchers, and the patients are aware of the evidence supporting the use of this relatively safe modality in cancer care.

http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=1;spage=3;epage=29;aulast=Agarwal

Reduce Genetic Markers of Inflammation with Yoga

Reduce Genetic Markers of Inflammation with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga is fantastic for decreasing stress levels, and research has also shown that those who practice yoga regularly have higher levels of leptin and adiponectin in their bodies. Both of these natural chemicals work to alleviate inflammation in the body.” – Julie Montagu

 

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. Needless to say, chronic inflammation can create major health problems. 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 real 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. In today’s Research News article “Preliminary indications of the effect of a brief yoga intervention on markers of inflammation and DNA methylation in chronically stressed women.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5290356/ ), Harkess and colleagues recruited women who were psychologically distressed and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list or to receive 8 weeks of twice a week for 1-hour yoga practice. Blood samples were obtained from the participants and measures of psychological distress, perceived stress, and positive and negative emotions, before and after the practice and 1 month later. Blood was assayed for concentrations of cytokines (IL-6, TNF), DNA methylation for immune candidates IL-6, CRP, and TNF.

 

They found that there were trends for improvements in all of the inflammation markers, but most were not significant. But, there was a significant improvement in the marker of DNA methylation in the region of Tumor Necrosis Factor, TNF. DNA methylation have been associated with poor physical health, and high levels of inflammation. So, the reduction in DNA methylation in the TNF region suggests a reduction in chronic inflammation. This may suggest that yoga practice might improve general health by reducing chronic inflammation.

 

It is reasonable to conclude that although there were many suggestive results, this pilot trial did not have sufficient statistical power to detect significant differences for most markers. Also, more extensive yoga practice beyond the 16 sessions in this trial, might produce more robust effects. In addition, the pilot trial lacked an active control condition. So, a number of sources of bias could be responsible for the results. The results, however, are sufficiently interesting and suggestive that they support conducting a larger randomized controlled clinical trial with an active control, perhaps aerobic exercise on the effectiveness of yoga practice on genetic markers of inflammation.

 

“There’s evidence that such “mind-body practices” dampen the activity of genes associated with inflammation – essentially reversing molecular damage caused by stress.” – Jo Marchant

 

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

 

Harkess, K. N., Ryan, J., Delfabbro, P. H., & Cohen-Woods, S. (2016). Preliminary indications of the effect of a brief yoga intervention on markers of inflammation and DNA methylation in chronically stressed women. Translational Psychiatry, 6(11), e965–. http://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2016.234

 

Abstract

Yoga is associated with reduced stress and increased well-being, although the molecular basis for these benefits is not clear. Mounting evidence implicates the immune response, with current studies focused on protein immune markers (such as cytokines) in clinical populations. To explore the molecular impact, this pilot study uses a subsample (n=28) from a randomised waitlist control trial investigating the impact of an 8-week yoga intervention in a community population of women reporting psychological distress (N=116). We measured interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and C-reactive protein (CRP) protein levels, and the DNA methylation of these genes and the global indicator, LINE-1. Correlations between these and psychological variables were explored, identifying moderate correlations with CRP protein levels, and methylation of IL-6, CRP and LINE-1. Many cytokine samples were below detection, however a Mann–Whitney U demonstrated a trend of moderate between-group effect for elevated IL-6 in the yoga group. Methylation analyses applied cross-sectional and non-controlled longitudinal analyses. Waist-to-height ratio and age were covaried. We demonstrated reduced methylation of the TNF region in the yoga group relative to the waitlist control group. No other genes demonstrated a significant difference. Longitudinal analysis further supported these results. This study is one of the first to explore yoga and immunological markers in a non-clinical population, and is the first study to explore DNA methylation. These findings indicate that further research into molecular impact of yoga on markers of immune function is warranted, with larger studies required.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5290356/