Improve Cancer Survivor Quality of Life with Exercise or Mindfulness

Improve Cancer Survivor Quality of Life with Exercise or Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“One of the main reasons people with cancer use meditation is to help them to feel better. Meditation can reduce anxiety and stress. It might also help control problems such as: pain, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, feeling sick, high blood pressure.” – Cancer Research UK

 

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 “Review of systematic reviews of non-pharmacological interventions to improve quality of life in cancer survivors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719270/ ), Duncan and colleagues summarize the published scientific reviews of randomized controlled trials on the effects of non-drug interventions on the quality of life of adult cancer survivors. The interventions included fell into a number of categories including physical (e.g. aerobic exercise, yoga), psychological education,  peer support, and mind-body therapies (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, relaxation training).

 

They discovered 21 published reviews of 362 randomized controlled trials. They found that the literature supported the efficacy of aerobic exercise, yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in improving the quality of life in cancer survivors. Hence, published scientific randomized controlled trials of non-drug treatment approaches demonstrate that the quality of life of cancer survivors can be improved with exercise, CBT, and mindfulness practices such as MBSR and yoga.

 

It was not reported how these practices might improve quality of life in cancer survivors. But, it can be speculated that because cancer treatments are physically demanding and of themselves produce physical debilitation, that exercise is a useful countermeasure to help overcome the physical losses occurring in treatment. It can also be speculated that mindfulness training may be helpful by improving the survivor’s ability to regulate the emotions produced by a cancer diagnosis and its treatment. These include anxiety, depression, fear, catastrophizing etc. By improving the ability to feel these emotions but react to them adaptively and thereby not amplifying them, the survivors may help to improve their emotional well-being and as a result their quality of life.

 

So, improve cancer survivor quality of life with exercise or mindfulness.

 

“We already know that psychosocial interventions like mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally, but now for the first time we have evidence that they can also influence key aspects of your biology,” – Linda Carlson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Duncan, M., Moschopoulou, E., Herrington, E., Deane, J., Roylance, R., Jones, L., … Bhui, K. (2017). Review of systematic reviews of non-pharmacological interventions to improve quality of life in cancer survivors. BMJ Open, 7(11), e015860. http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-015860

 

Strengths and limitations of this study

  • This is a systematic review of reviews and evidence synthesis of non-pharmacological interventions in cancer survivors.
  • Longer term studies are needed and studies of greater methodological quality that adopt similar reporting standards.
  • Definitions of survivor varied and more studies are needed for different types of cancer, and specifically for patients who have poor quality of life.
  • More studies are needed that investigate educational, online and multidisciplinary team-based interventions.
  • This review has some limitations in the methodology. Studies not in English and grey literature were not included. This was a review of reviews: we did not review individual studies focused on specific cancers or stage, and we did not reassess the quality of the primary studies included in each review.

 

Abstract

Objectives

Over two million people in the UK are living with and beyond cancer. A third report diminished quality of life.

Design

A review of published systematic reviews to identify effective non-pharmacological interventions to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors.

Data sources

Databases searched until May 2017 included PubMed, Cochrane Central, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Web of Science, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and PsycINFO.

Study selection

Published systematic reviews of randomised trials of non-pharmacological interventions for people living with and beyond cancer were included; included reviews targeted patients aged over 18. All participants had already received a cancer diagnosis. Interventions located in any healthcare setting, home or online were included. Reviews of alternative therapies or those non-English reports were excluded. Two researchers independently assessed titles, abstracts and the full text of papers, and independently extracted the data.

Outcomes

The primary outcome of interest was any measure of global (overall) quality of life.

Analytical methods

Quality assessment assessing methdological quality of systematic reviews (AMSTAR) and narrative synthesis, evaluating effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions and their components.

Results

Of 14 430 unique titles, 21 were included in the review of reviews. There was little overlap in the primary papers across these reviews. Thirteen reviews covered mixed tumour groups, seven focused on breast cancer and one focused on prostate cancer. Face-to-face interventions were often combined with online, telephone and paper-based reading materials. Interventions included physical, psychological or behavioural, multidimensional rehabilitation and online approaches. Yoga specifically, physical exercise more generally, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programmes showed benefit in terms of quality of life.

Conclusions

Exercise-based interventions were effective in the short (less than 3–8 months) and long term. CBT and MBSR also showed benefits, especially in the short term. The evidence for multidisciplinary, online and educational interventions was equivocal.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719270/

Reduce Inflammation in elderly Women with Yoga

Reduce Inflammation in elderly Women with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Inflammaging has been associated with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stress, depression, and a weakened immune system. Several recent studies suggest that yoga could slow the harmful physical effects of stress and inflammaging.” – Marylynn Wei

 

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. Aging is associated with a decline in immune system function and therefore an increase in chronic inflammation. As a result, the elderly are particularly vulnerable to chronic inflammation. So, it would make sense to test the effectiveness of mindfulness practices in the levels of inflammation in the elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Elderly-customized hatha yoga effects on the vascular inflammation factors of elderly women.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5683994/ ), Kim and Ju Examined this issue by recruiting 14 healthy elderly women between the ages of 70 and 80 and randomly assigning 7 of the women to no treatment and 7 to receive a 10-week, 3 times per week for 60 minutes Hatha yoga program. The Hatha yoga poses were modified for the elderly performing many of the poses while sitting in a chair. Blood was drawn at the beginning and end of the program and assayed for inflammation markers of albumin, white blood cell count, fibrinogen, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

 

They found that there were no significant changes in the inflammation markers for the control group, but the Hatha yoga group showed significant changes signaling reduced inflammation. These changes included significantly increased albumin levels and decreased vascular inflammation markers of fibrinogen, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. So, engaging in Hatha yoga practice appeared to reduce inflammation in these elderly women.

 

The results should be interpreted carefully as there was not an active control condition. So, it cannot be determined if the yoga practice per se was responsible for the improvements or simply any gentle exercise would produce comparable benefits. But, the fact that statistically significant findings were present with only 7 women in the yoga group is remarkable and suggests that the effects are robust. Future research should include men and have an active control condition, perhaps treadmill walking or similar gentle aerobic exercise.

 

So, reduce inflammation in elderly women with Yoga.

 

There’s also good news for those of us who have a regular yoga practice. Several studies now report that a regular yoga practice brings down the levels of stress hormones that promote inflammation, lowers the levels of a number of pro-inflammatory molecules in the body and brings down inflammation that is beneficial in conditions like arthritis, reduces a subset of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines thereby relieving severe pain seen in diseases like fibromyalgia, and Inhibits inflammation that in turn weakens and even kills cancerous cells in people with cancer.” -Ram Rao

 

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

 

Kim, S., & Ju, S. (2017). Elderly-customized hatha yoga effects on the vascular inflammation factors of elderly women. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 29(10), 1708–1711. http://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.29.1708

 

Abstract

[Purpose] The aim of this study was to examine the effects of the application of elderly-customized hatha yoga on the vascular inflammation factors of elderly women. [Subjects and Methods] This research was conducted with 14 elderly women, between 70 and 80 years old, divided into an elderly-customized hatha yoga group (n=7) and a control group (n=7). The application group participated in a hatha yoga program designed to be elderly-friendly for 10 weeks. At the end of the program, the vascular inflammation factors were measured, including the albumin, white blood cell count, fibrinogen, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). [Results] In the hatha yoga group, the albumin increased significantly after the application, when compared to the level before the application, while the fibrinogen, hs-CRP, and ESR decreased significantly. In the control group, the vascular inflammation factor levels before and after the application period were not significantly different. [Conclusion] Based on the results of this study, the application of elderly-customized hatha yoga created positive changes in the vascular inflammation factors of elderly women.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5683994/

Improve Sleep with Diabetes with Yoga

Improve Sleep with Diabetes with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“yoga stimulates the organs which in turn improves metabolic activities. This means that the chemical transformations within a cell are carried out more efficiently. This makes it a highly beneficial exercise for those suffering from diabetes” – Aruna Rathod Panvell

 

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 II 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 the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, 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 life style. 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 “Effect of yoga and aerobics exercise on sleep quality in women with Type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5612039/ ), Ebrahimi and colleagues recruited adult women with diabetes and randomly assigned them to a 12-week program of yoga practice, running on a treadmill, or a control condition. Yoga consisted of postures, breathing exercises and relaxation and was practiced for 90 minutes three times per week while running on a treadmill was practiced for 30 minutes 3 times per week. They were measured before, at 6 weeks, and after training for sleep quality.

 

They found that yoga but not either running or the control condition produced a significant improvement in sleep quality at 6-weeks and at the end of training. The improvements included decreased time to fall asleep, longer duration of sleep, greater sleep efficiency, fewer sleep medications and sleep disturbances, and better daytime function. Hence, participation in yoga practice was found to markedly improve sleep in diabetic women.

 

It is suspected, but nor established, that the improvements in sleep improve the quality of life with diabetes. The fact that aerobic exercise did not produce similar improvements suggests that it was the mindfulness component and not the exercise component of yoga practice that was responsible for the improvements. It is known that mindfulness practices improve sleep and diabetes. It remains for future research to establish the causal connections between the two effects of mindfulness.

 

So, improve sleep with diabetes with yoga.

 

“Regular practice of yoga does reduce blood sugar levels, the blood pressure, weight, the rate of progression to the complications, and the severity of the complications as well. The symptoms are also reduced to a great extent, so are number of diabetes related hospital admissions.”Sujit Chandratreya

 

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

 

Ebrahimi, M., Guilan-Nejad, T. N., & Pordanjani, A. F. (2017). Effect of yoga and aerobics exercise on sleep quality in women with Type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Sleep Science, 10(2), 68–72. http://doi.org/10.5935/1984-0063.20170012

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was investigating the effect of 12 weeks of yoga and aerobic exercise (running on a treadmill) on the sleep quality in women with Type 2 diabetes.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

39 diabetic women were selected from Semnan city with the mean age of 46.85±3.35 years, weight of 69.79±17.18 kg, height of 155.03±5.00, BMI of 29.64±5.00 kg/m2 who had a background of diabetes for 6.46±2.69 years. They were then randomly divided into yoga exercise (n=15), aerobic exercise (n=13), and control group (n=11). The exercise program was performed for 12 weeks, three sessions per each week. In order to measure the sleep quality, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was used. The data were analyzed by non-parametric wilcoxon and Kruskal-Wallis Test at significance level of p<0.05.

RESULTS

Overall score of sleep quality improved after six (p=0.001) and 12 (p=0.001) weeks of yoga exercise. Also, significant effect was observed after 6 weeks of aerobic exercise (p=0.039). However, the positive effect was diminished to under significant levels after 12 weeks of aerobic exercise (p=0.154). Kruskal-Wallis Test showed significant differences between yoga and aerobic groups after 12 weeks of exercise (p=0.002). No significant differences were observed in control groups in all situation.

CONCLUSIONS

It can be concluded that yoga exercise is more effective in improving the sleep quality in comparison with the same course of aerobic exercise in women suffering from diabetes Type 2. Thus, yoga exercise can be suggested to these patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5612039/

Improve Calmness with Alternate Nostril Yoga Breathing

Improve Calmness with Alternate Nostril Yoga Breathing

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“alternate nostril breathing . . . it’s thought to harmonize the two hemispheres of the brain, resulting in a balanced in physical, mental and emotional well-being. While science has yet to really explore what might be going on in terms of hemispheric functioning during this practice, recent studies have confirmed some pretty powerful effects of this practice.” – Paula Watkins

 

Yoga practice is becoming increasingly popular in the west, for good reason. It has documented benefits for the individual’s psychological and physical health and well-being. It has also been shown to have cognitive benefits, improving memory. Yoga, however, consists of a number of components including, poses, breathing exercises, meditation, concentration, and philosophy/ethics.  So, it is difficult to determine which facet or combination of facets of yoga are responsible for which benefit. Hence, it is important to begin to test each component in isolation to determine its effects.

 

Alternate nostril yoga breathing is a regulated breathing alternating between the left and right nostril. Breathing through each nostril is thought to affect its respective hemisphere in the brain producing differential effects. In today’s Research News article “Hemisphere specific EEG related to alternate nostril yoga breathing.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5525313/ ), Telles and colleagues examine the effects of alternate nostril yoga breathing on brain activity and the emotional state of the practitioner. They recruited healthy adult practitioners of alternate nostril yoga breathing. They were randomly assigned on different days to either practice alternate nostril yoga breathing, breath awareness, or quiet sitting for 18 minutes. Before, during, and after each practice the electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded from the scalp of the practitioners.

 

They found that during alternate nostril yoga breathing there was significantly decreased activity in the frontal lobes of the brain in both the Beta frequency band (13-30 cycles per second) of the EEG and the Theta frequency band (4-7.5 cycles per second). On the other hand, during quiet sitting there was increased Beta activity and decreased Alpha band (8-12 cycles per second) activity.

 

Theta activity in the EEG of the frontal lobe is associated with positive emotional states and memory activity. Beta activity is associated with increased alertness, excitement, and arousal. Alpha activity is associated with complex cognitive (thought) processes. Hence, during alternate nostril yoga breathing the EEG activity suggests that the practitioner goes into a state of relaxation (reduced arousal) while during quiet sitting the practitioner goes into a state of arousal with decreased thinking.

 

This study demonstrates that the different components of yoga practice may have strikingly different effects on the nervous system and the state of the practitioner. The results are interesting and verify that alternate nostril yoga breathing produces different changes in brain activity than breath awareness or quiet sitting. The results suggest that alternate nostril yoga breathing produces a relaxed, calm state. This further suggests that this technique might be useful for treating anxiety disorders. Indeed, there is evidence that alternate nostril yoga breathing calms the anxious individual.

 

So, improve calmness with alternate nostril yoga breathing.

 

““alternate nostril breathing,” is a simple yet powerful technique that settles the mind, body, and emotions. You can use it to quiet your mind before beginning a meditation practice, and it is particularly helpful to ease racing thoughts if you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or having trouble falling asleep.” – Melissa Eisler

 

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

 

Telles, S., Gupta, R. K., Yadav, A., Pathak, S., & Balkrishna, A. (2017). Hemisphere specific EEG related to alternate nostril yoga breathing. BMC Research Notes, 10, 306. http://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-017-2625-6

 

Abstract

Background

Previously, forced unilateral nostril breathing was associated with ipsilateral, or contralateral cerebral hemisphere changes, or no change. Hence it was inconclusive. The present study was conducted on 13 normal healthy participants to determine the effects of alternate nostril yoga breathing on (a) cerebral hemisphere asymmetry, and (b) changes in the standard EEG bands.

Methods

Participants were randomly allocated to three sessions (a) alternate nostril yoga breathing (ANYB), (b) breath awareness and (c) quiet sitting, on separate days. EEG was recorded from bilaterally symmetrical sites (FP1, FP2, C3, C4, O1 and O2). All sites were referenced to the ipsilateral ear lobe.

Results

There was no change in cerebral hemisphere symmetry. The relative power in the theta band was decreased during alternate nostril yoga breathing (ANYB) and the beta amplitude was lower after ANYB. During quiet sitting the relative power in the beta band increased, while the amplitude of the alpha band reduced.

Conclusion

The results suggest that ANYB was associated with greater calmness, whereas quiet sitting without specific directions was associated with arousal. The results imply a possible use of ANYB for stress and anxiety reduction.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5525313/

Improve Diabetes and Diabetes Risk with Yoga

Improve Diabetes and Diabetes Risk with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It is well known that regular practice of yoga can help reduce levels of stress, enhance mobility, lower blood pressure and improve overall wellbeing. It is these benefits that many health experts believe can improve diabetes management and protect against other related medical conditions such as heart disease.” – Diabetes UK

 

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 II 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 the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, 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 life style. 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 “Effect of 12 Weeks of Yoga Therapy on Quality of Life and Indian Diabetes Risk Score in Normotensive Indian Young Adult Prediabetics and Diabetics: Randomized Control Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5713721/ ), Keerthi and colleagues recruited adult participants with diabetes, pre-diabetes, and healthy non-diabetics. All participants continued their normal therapy throughout the study while half the diabetics and pre-diabetics were randomly assigned to receive either 12 weeks of additional walking or yoga therapy for 45 minutes, three time per week. All participants were measured before and after the 12-week treatment period for fasting glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance, body size, blood pressure, diabetes risk, and quality of life.

 

They found that both the diabetic and pre-diabetic groups showed significant reductions after yoga therapy training in fasting glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance, and diabetes risk, and significant increases in quality of life. Hence, 12 weeks of yoga therapy improved both the metabolic and psychological state of both pre-diabetic and overtly diabetic individuals. These findings were in comparison to normal healthy participants and to pre-diabetic and diabetic groups who walked for a comparable period of time to the yoga therapy. This makes it unlikely that simply exercise was responsible for the observed group differences. Rather, the improvements were specifically due to participation in yoga. Future research needs to follow up to determine if the improvements are lasting.

 

These are encouraging results. Diabetes is epidemic worldwide and safe and effective additional treatments are greatly needed. The present study demonstrates that yoga therapy can help to prevent diabetes by improving the physical and mental states of individuals at high risk for diabetes. They also show that yoga practice can produce improvements in addition to standard therapy in overtly diabetic individuals. This suggests that yoga practice should be included in the standard treatment regimens for pre-diabetic and diabetic adults.

 

So, improve diabetes and diabetes risk with yoga.

 

“For those looking for how to prevent diabetes or gain relief from the disease, adopting a healthy lifestyle that incorporates yoga postures for diabetes can offer patients with the condition of its pre-indicators a new lease on life.” – 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

 

Keerthi, G. S., Pal, P., Pal, G. K., Sahoo, J. P., Sridhar, M. G., & Balachander, J. (2017). Effect of 12 Weeks of Yoga Therapy on Quality of Life and Indian Diabetes Risk Score in Normotensive Indian Young Adult Prediabetics and Diabetics: Randomized Control Trial. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, 11(9), CC10–CC14. http://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2017/29307.10633

 

Abstract

Introduction

India has become the epicentre for diabetes, a stress-related disorder affecting the working skills and day-to-day lifestyle management of younger population. Most of the studies have reported the effect of yoga on improving Quality of Life (QoL) in diabetic patients with other comorbidities. Till date, no randomized control trial reports are available to show the effect of yoga therapy on QoL and Indian Diabetes Risk Score (IDRS) in normotensive prediabetic and diabetic young individuals.

Aim

To determine the effect of 12 weeks of yoga therapy on QoL and IDRS among normotensive prediabetic and diabetic young Indian adults.

Materials and Methods

A randomized control trial was conducted in Endocrinology Outpatient Department (OPD). Normotensive participants (n=310) aged 18-45 years were divided into healthy controls (n=62), prediabetics (n=124) and diabetics (n=124). Study group subjects were randomly assigned to Group II (n=62, prediabetes-standard treatment), Group III (n=62, prediabetes-standard treatment + yoga therapy), Group IV (n=62, diabetes-standard treatment) and Group V (n=62, diabetes-standard treatment + yoga therapy). Flanagan QoL scale, IDRS questionnaire, Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) and insulin were assessed pre and post 12 weeks of intervention. Statistical analysis was done using Student’s paired t-test and one-way ANOVA.

Results

Pre-post intervention analysis showed significant improvement in QoL scale with p<0.01 in Group II and Group IV; p<0.001 in Group III and Group V respectively. There was significant reduction in IDRS in Group II (p<0.05); p<0.001 in Group III, Group IV and Group V respectively. Significant difference (p<0.001) in QoL scale and IDRS were found when study groups with standard treatment along with yoga therapy were compared to standard treatment alone.

Conclusion

Yoga therapy along with standard treatment for 12 weeks improved QoL and attenuated the diabetes risk among Indian prediabetics and diabetics compared to standard treatment alone.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5713721/

Improve Cardiovascular Health in Postmenopausal Women with Yoga

Improve Cardiovascular Health in Postmenopausal Women with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga is designed to bring about increased physical, mental and emotional well-being. Hand in hand with leading a heart-healthy lifestyle, it really is possible for a yoga-based model to help prevent or reverse heart disease. It may not completely reverse it, but you will definitely see benefits.” –M. Mala Cunningham

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a large number of beneficial effects on the psychological, emotional, and physical health of the individual and is helpful in the treatment of mental and physical illness, including cardiovascular disease and metabolic problems. This is important as cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. There are a large number of risk factors that increase the likelihood of heart disease. Menopause and the consequent drop in Estrogen levels is just such a risk factor that greatly increases the likelihood of heart disease in postmenopausal women.

 

The safest effective preventative techniques for heart disease are lifestyle changes. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Other safe and effective treatments are contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to prevent heart disease such as smoking cessationweight reduction, and stress reduction. Since, yoga is a mindfulness practice and an exercise it would seem to be ideally suited for the prevention of cardiovascular problems.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga offers cardiovascular protection in early postmenopausal women.” (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=37;epage=43;aulast=Praveena ), Praveena and colleagues examine the ability of yoga practice to improve cardiovascular function in postmenopausal women. They recruited women between 45 and 60 years of age who were within 5 years of menopause and assigned them to treatment as usual or to practice yoga for 12 weeks, 1-hour per day, 6 days per week. They were trained for a week and then assigned to practice at home. Yoga practice included poses, breathing practices, chanting, and relaxation. They were measured before and after the 12-week practice for body size and cardiac function, as measured with electrocardiogram (ECG).

 

They found that the treatment as usual group had significant increases in electrocardiogram (ECG) low frequency signal that reflect increased sympathetic nervous system activity while having decreased high frequency ECG activity that reflect decreased parasympathetic nervous system activity. This signifies that the control group had significantly increased cardiovascular activation. On the other hand, the yoga group had significant decreases in electrocardiogram (ECG) low frequency signal that reflect decreased sympathetic nervous system activity while having increased high frequency ECG activity that reflect increased parasympathetic nervous system activity. This signifies that yoga practice significantly decreased cardiovascular activation.

 

The results suggest that yoga practice relaxes the cardiovascular system in postmenopausal women. This is a positive sign for these women who have increased risk of cardiovascular disease and may suggest that if they continue yoga practice in the future they will have improved cardiovascular health. Yoga practice is “a safe, natural, nonpharmacological technique with low implementation cost, ease of adoption by a broad range of population, high perceived satisfaction quotient, psychological benefits, and good compliance.” This suggests that yoga practice may be an almost ideal treatment for improving cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women.

 

So, improve cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women with Yoga.

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Praveena SM, Asha G, Sunita M, Anju J, Ratna B. Yoga offers cardiovascular protection in early postmenopausal women. Int J Yoga 2018;11:37-43

 

Abstract

Context: Postmenopause, an estrogen deficient state comes with increased incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Yoga has been described as having a beneficial effect on heart rate variability (HRV), a marker for cardiac autonomic activity which can assess cardiovascular risk, in various populations. Aim: the aim of the study was to study the effect of 3-month long Yoga practice on HRV in early postmenopausal women. Settings and Design: A prospective longitudinal study of 67 women within 5 years of menopause between 45 and 60 years of age attending menopause clinic of Department of Gynaecology, Sucheta Kriplani Hospital fulfilling inclusion and exclusion criteria and consenting were enrolled for the study. Subjects and Methods: HRV of 37 cases (Yoga group) and 30 controls (non-Yoga group) was recorded pre and 3-month postintervention. Statistical Analysis Used: GraphPad Prism Version 5 software was used. Values are a mean and standard error of mean. Statistical significance was set up at P < 0.05.
Results: In HRV, frequency domain analysis showed a significant fall in low frequency (LF) in normalized units (nu) and LF: high frequency (HF) ratio and significant rise in HF in nu in the Yoga group (depicting parasympathetic dominance) against a significant rise in LF (nu) and LF: HF ratio and significant fall in HF (nu) in non-Yoga group (indicating sympathetic dominance). Time domain analysis showed a significant decrease in Standard Deviation of NN intervals in Non-Yoga group against nonsignificant changes in Yoga group indicating deterioration in parasympathetic activity in non-Yoga group. Conclusions: Three-month long Yoga practice improved HRV in early postmenopausal women significantly and has the potential to attenuate the CVD risk in postmenopausal women.

http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=1;spage=37;epage=43;aulast=Praveena

Improve Long-Term Postoperative Cardiac Health with Yoga

Improve Long-Term Postoperative Cardiac Health with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

If you are suffering from a heart problem and coronary artery bypass graft is the only surgical solution to the disease, yoga may heal you faster post the operation.” – Sameer Kumar Sharma

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a large number of beneficial effects on the psychological, emotional, and physical health of the individual and is helpful in the treatment of mental and physical illness, including cardiovascular disease and metabolic problems. This is important as cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

 

The safest effective treatments for people recovering from heart disease are lifestyle changes. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health and for producing the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to promote recovery from heart disease such as smoking cessation, weight reduction, and stress reduction. Since, yoga is a mindfulness practice and an exercise it would seem to be ideally suited to promote recovery.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga-based postoperative cardiac rehabilitation program for improving quality of life and stress levels: Fifth-year follow-up through a randomized controlled trial.” (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=44;epage=52;aulast=Amaravathi ),

Amaravathi and colleagues recruited patients recovering from coronary bypass surgery were receiving treatment as usual including pharmacotherapy and physiotherapy-based exercises. They were randomly assigned to receive either no further treatment or yoga training. Yoga was taught in the hospital and the patients were encouraged to continue practice at home following release. The patients were measured before and after treatment and periodically thereafter for perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, anxiety and depression, and quality of life. The current study reports the 5-year follow-up measurements.

 

At the 5-year follow-up, the yoga group, but not the control group had significant improvements in their overall quality of life including the physical, mental, environmental, and social dimensions. There were also significant reductions in perceived stress and negative emptions with the yoga group but not the control group. The reduction in stress is particularly important as stress is known to have negative consequences for cardiac patients. Hence, the addition of home yoga practice to the usual cardiac rehabilitation treatment resulted in significant improvements in the psychological states and quality of life that were still present 5 years later.

 

These results are remarkable, not in the effects of yoga practice, as these are well established, but in the duration of the effects. They were still present after 5 years. Such long-term follow-up is rare in research and is very important. A treatment is not useful if it is only effective for a brief time. Producing lasting improvements is the goal of all treatments and the present findings suggest that yoga practice produces such lasting effects.

 

Yoga practice is safe treatment that is very inexpensive to teach and maintain. It appears to be acceptable and satisfactory to a broad range of people, and has very good compliance. This suggests that yoga practice may be an almost ideal treatment for improving mental health and quality of life in patients recovering from coronary bypass surgery.

 

So, improve long-term postoperative cardiac health with yoga.

 

“After a heart surgery, life never remains the same. You could either look at it as an unfortunate incident or as a new lease of life, in which you’ve come out of the darkness and are privileged to be alive. The wisdom of yoga can help you transition through this phase of your life and speed recovery.” – Ramanjit Garewal

 

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

 

Amaravathi E, Ramarao NH, Raghuram N, Pradhan B. Yoga-based postoperative cardiac rehabilitation program for improving quality of life and stress levels: Fifth-year follow-up through a randomized controlled trial. Int J Yoga 2018;11:44-52

 

Abstract

Objectives: This study was aimed to assess the efficacy of yoga-based lifestyle program (YLSP) in improving quality of life (QOL) and stress levels in patients after 5 years of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). Methodology: Three hundred patients posted for elective CABG in Narayana Hrudayalaya Super Speciality Hospital, Bengaluru, were randomized into two groups: YLSP and conventional lifestyle program (CLSP), and follow-up was done for 5 years. Intervention: In YLSP group, all practices of integrative approach of yoga therapy such as yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and meditation were used as an add-on to conventional cardiac rehabilitation. The control group (CLSP) continued conventional cardiac rehabilitation only. Outcome Measures: World Health Organization (WHO)-QOL BREF Questionnaire, Perceived Stress Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were assessed before surgery and at the end of the 5th year after CABG. As data were not normally distributed, Mann–Whitney U-test was used for between-group comparisons and Wilcoxon’s signed-rank test was used for within-group comparisons. Results: At the end of 5 years, mental health (P = 0.05), perceived stress (P = 0.01), and negative affect (NA) (P = 0.05) have shown significant improvements. WHO-QOL BREF score has shown improvements in physical health (P = 0.046), environmental health (P = 0.04), perceived stress (P = 0.001), and NA (P = 0.02) in YLSP than CLSP. Positive affect has significantly improved in CLSP than YLSP. Other domains of WHO-QOL-BREF, PANAS, and HADS did not reveal any significant between-group differences. Conclusion: Addition of long-term YLSP to conventional cardiac rehabilitation brings better improvements in QOL and reduction in stress levels at the end of 5 years after CABG.

http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=1;spage=44;epage=52;aulast=Amaravathi

Reduce Inflammatory Markers and Blood Fat Levels with Yoga

Reduce Inflammatory Markers and Blood Fat Levels with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“So far, the results suggest that different mind-body interventions may well all be working in a similar way. If your main purpose is to reduce inflammation to improve health. “it seems it really doesn’t matter which one you choose”. – Ivana Buric

 

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.

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. High blood fat levels are an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. They increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke three-fold. The good news is that in general, diet, exercise, and weight loss can reduce the levels of fat circulating in the blood.

 

Of course, it is far better to prevent chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease 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. Similarly, contemplative practices have also been shown to be helpful for heart health particularly those that are also exercises such as tai chi and yoga. Most of these results were obtained from treating diseased individuals. It is important to establish if yoga practice can be effective in preventing chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease also in healthy individuals who are in potentially toxic environments.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of yoga training on inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein in employees of small-scale industries.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561768/ ), Shete and colleagues recruited healthy adults who worked in manufacturing chemicals, paints, and steel; environments that are prone to producing inflammation. They were randomly assigned to either a wait-list control or to receive 3-minths of yoga practice, 6 days per week for 1 hour per day. The yoga practice consisted of stretching, postures, and breathing exercises. The participants were measured before and after training for blood levels of lipids including cholesterol, triglyceride, and HDL, LDL and VLDL, and blood levels of inflammatory markers, IL-6, TNF-α, and hs-CRP.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that practiced yoga had significantly improved levels of blood fats, including lower levels of cholesterol and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), and lower levels of the inflammatory markers Interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α). Hence, the results suggest that yoga practice produces significant reductions in inflammation and blood fat levels.

 

Conclusions from these results must be tempered as the control group did not have an active comparison such as aerobic exercise. So, it cannot be determined if exercise of yoga in particular was responsible for the improvements. But, the results clearly show that engaging in yoga practice can lower the levels of risk factors for chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease even in workers who are employed in high risk occupations. This could improve health and well-being, and increase longevity.

 

So, reduce inflammatory markers and blood fat levels with yoga.

 

“new research . . . has demonstrated that individuals who are naturally mindful tend to have healthier hearts and a reduced risk of obesity. In the face of temptations to eat junk food and sit in front of the TV all day, they seem to have chosen a healthier path that we all could emulate.” – Adam Hoffman

 

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

 

Shete, S. U., Verma, A., Kulkarni, D. D., & Bhogal, R. S. (2017). Effect of yoga training on inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein in employees of small-scale industries. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 6, 76. http://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_65_17

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The present study intends to see the effect of yoga practices on lipid profile, interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and high-sensitivity-C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) among apparently healthy adults exposed to occupational hazards.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

In the present study, 48 participants aged 30–58 years (41.5 ± 5.2) who were exposed to occupational hazards were randomized into two groups, that is, experimental and wait-list control. All the participants were assessed for lipid profile, IL-6, TNF-α, and hs-CRP at the baseline and after completion of 3 months of yoga training intervention. The experimental group underwent yoga training intervention for 1 h for 6 days a week for 3 months, whereas control group continued with their daily activities except yoga training. Data analysis was done using statistical software SPSS Version 20.0. Data were analyzed using paired t-tests and independent t-test.

RESULTS:

The results of within group comparison revealed highly significant changes in cholesterol (P < 0.001), high-density lipoprotein (P < 0.001), low-density lipoprotein (LDL)(P < 0.01), hs-CRP (P < 0.01), IL-6 (P < 0.001), and TNF-α (P < 0.001) in experimental group. Comparison between experimental and control group revealed significant changes in cholesterol (P < 0.01), LDL (P < 0.05), IL-6 (P < 0.01), TNF-α (P < 0.01), and hs-CRP (P < 0.01).

CONCLUSION:

A yoga-based lifestyle intervention seems to be a highly promising alternative therapy which favorably alters inflammatory markers and metabolic risk factors.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561768/

Yoga Practice Can Improve Prisoner Well-Being and Improve Rehabilitation

Yoga Practice Can Improve Prisoner Well-Being and Improve Rehabilitation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Inmates are more likely to be dealing with negative emotions—anxiety, fear, despair, anger, depression, and trauma—than a practitioner not behind bars. With a present reality that hinges on past events, as well as an environment of hostility and potential danger, yoga presents an opportunity to break through from the cycles of negative thoughts and emotions that further imprison the self. Yoga presents an opportunity for a form of freedom.” – Pauline Busson

 

Around 2 ¼ million people are incarcerated in the United States. Even though prisons are euphemistically labelled correctional facilities very little correction actually occurs. This is supported by the rates of recidivism. About three quarters of prisoners who are released commit crimes and are sent back to prison within 5-years. The lack of actual treatment for the prisoners leaves them ill equipped to engage positively in society either inside or outside of prison. Hence, there is a need for effective treatment programs that help the prisoners while in prison and prepares them for life outside the prison.

 

Contemplative practices are well suited to the prison environment. Mindfulness training teaches skills that may be very important for prisoners. In particular, it puts the practitioner in touch with their own bodies and feelings. It improves present moment awareness and helps to overcome rumination about the past and negative thinking about the future. It’s been shown to be useful in the treatment of the effects of trauma and attention deficit disorder. It also relieves stress and improves overall health and well-being. Finally, mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in treating depressionanxiety, and anger. It has also been shown to help overcome trauma in male prisoners.

 

Yoga practice, because of its mindfulness plus physical exercise characteristics, would seem to be ideal for the needs of an incarcerated population. Indeed, it has been shown to be beneficial for prisoners. In today’s Research News article “Yoga in Correctional Settings: A Randomized Controlled Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5650609/ ), Kerekes and colleagues recruited male and female prisoners in Sweden and randomly assigned them to either 10-weeks of yoga practice or a wait-list control. Yoga training occurred for 90 minutes once a week for 10 weeks. Control participants were encouraged to engage in another physical activity for 90 minutes once a week. At the end of the 10 weeks, the control participants practiced yoga for ten weeks. The prisoners were measured before and after training for perceived stress, prison aggression, positive and negative emotions, sleep quality, and psychiatric symptoms. They were also asked to perform a continuous performance task that measures attention, impulsivity, and vigilance.

 

They found that the group that practiced yoga had less perceived stress, better sleep quality, an increased psychological and emotional well-being, less aggressive, antisocial, and self-harm behaviors. Compared to the control group, the yoga group showed increased positive emotions, impulse control and attention, and decreased negative affect. Importantly, there was a significant decrease in anti-social behaviors of the prisoners practicing yoga.

 

Yoga practice was associated with significant improvements in the prisoners’ mental health and well-being. This is not surprising as yoga practice has been repeatedly shown to provide similar benefits to other, non-prisoner, participants. But the impact of these benefits are heightened in the high-stress prison environment. The results suggest that yoga practice not only makes prison life more tolerable and constructive, but also decreases the types of behaviors, anti-social behaviors, that resulted in their incarcerations in the first place. So, yoga practice while in prison may help to prepare the prisoners for successfully reengaging in life after prison and reduce recidivism.

 

So, improve improve prisoner well-being and rehabilitation with yoga.

 

“These boys came from neglectful and abusive backgrounds, most of them [were] on medication, a real mess. That was where I got it. I realized that working with their bodies was so much more effective than just working cognitively. I started to see yoga as complementary therapy. For healing to take place, the body has to be involved. The counselors were saying, “Wow, the boys are feeling more self-confidence and self-esteem after having done yoga for two or three months.” They were actually seeing changes in them.” – James Fox

 

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

 

Kerekes, N., Fielding, C., & Apelqvist, S. (2017). Yoga in Correctional Settings: A Randomized Controlled Study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 8, 204. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00204

 

Abstract

Background

The effect of yoga in the reduction of depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress, anger as well as in the increased ability of behavioral control has been shown. These effects of yoga are highly relevant for prison inmates who often have poor mental health and low impulse control. While it has been shown that yoga and meditation can be effective in improving subjective well-being, mental health, and executive functioning within prison populations, only a limited number of studies have proved this, using randomized controlled settings.

Methods

A total of 152 participants from nine Swedish correctional facilities were randomly assigned to a 10-week yoga group (one class a week; N = 77) or a control group (N = 75). Before and after the intervention period, participants answered questionnaires measuring stress, aggression, affective states, sleep quality, and psychological well-being and completed a computerized test measuring attention and impulsivity.

Results

After the intervention period, significant improvements were found on 13 of the 16 variables within the yoga group (e.g., less perceived stress, better sleep quality, an increased psychological and emotional well-being, less aggressive, and antisocial behavior) and on two within the control group. Compared to the control group, yoga class participants reported significantly improved emotional well-being and less antisocial behavior after 10 weeks of yoga. They also showed improved performance on the computerized test that measures attention and impulse control.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that the yoga practiced in Swedish correctional facilities has positive effects on inmates’ well-being and on considerable risk factors associated with recidivism, such as impulsivity and antisocial behavior. Accordingly, the results show that yoga practice can play an important part in the rehabilitation of prison inmates.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5650609/

Produce Lasting Improvement in Fibromyalgia with Yoga

Produce Lasting Improvement in Fibromyalgia with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For the nearly 10 million people who suffer from this condition, the thought of any movement can be overwhelming. What makes yoga perfect though is that it can be adapted for each person’s individual needs. Additionally, yoga’s ability to calm the mind and reduce stress may also serve to reduce the main trigger of fibromyalgia attacks, as well as slowly loosen cramped muscles.” – Liz Rosenblum

 

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious disorder whose causes are unknown. It is very common affecting over 5 million people in the U.S., about 2% of the population with about 7 times more women affected than men. It is characterized by widespread pain, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbance, and fatigue that lead to psychological distress. There are no completely effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Symptoms are generally treated with pain relievers, antidepressant drugs and exercise. But, these only reduce the severity of the symptoms and do not treat the disease directly. Mindfulness practices have also been shown to be effective in reducing pain from fibromyalgia.

 

Yoga is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice. So, it would make sense to investigate the effectiveness of yoga practice in treating fibromyalgia. Indeed, in a previous study, Carson and colleagues (Insert Link to Prior study) found that, yoga practice produced significant improvements in overall fibromyalgia symptoms. These findings need to be replicated and follow-up needs to be performed to establish the duration of the benefits. In today’s Research News article “Follow-up of Yoga of Awareness for Fibromyalgia: Results at 3 Months and Replication in the Wait-list Group.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5568073/, Carson and colleagues follow up their previous study (Insert Link to Prior study) to replicate their findings and investigate whether the benefits last.

 

They recruited adult women who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia for at least a year. They were randomly assigned to receive either yoga practice or be on a wait-list control condition. The Yoga for Awareness training occurred in a group setting for 2 hours, once a week for 8 weeks. Participants were also encouraged to practice at home for 20-40 minutes, 5 to 7 days per week. Yoga for Awareness sessions consisted of yoga stretching poses, mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, presentations on the application of yogic principles to optimal coping, and group discussions. Participants were measured before and after training for fibromyalgia symptoms and disability, including myalgic tender points, strength deficits, and balance deficits, and pain coping including acceptance, catastrophizing, and adaptive and maladaptive strategies. In addition, daily diaries were maintained of “pain, fatigue, emotional distress, and vigor, along with success at coping via acceptance and relaxation strategies.” In this follow-up study, the wait-list control was provided the yoga training for 8 weeks and the previous yoga group was followed for durability of the symptom relief.

 

They found that after treating the previous control group, like with the previous study, there were significant improvements in overall fibromyalgia symptoms and its impact, including pain, fatigue, stiffness, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, memory problems, tenderness, balance, environmental sensitivity, and strength. There were even improvements in the strategies that the patients used to cope with the pain, including increased engagement with the pain, pain problem solving, reappraisal and decreased pain catastrophizing, self-isolation, and disengagement. The daily diaries also revealed significant improvements as a result of yoga practice including reduced pain, fatigue, emotional distress and increased vigor, relaxation, and success with acceptance. The improvements were significantly related to the amount of home practice with the greater the number of days per week that yoga was practiced at home the greater the improvements in overall fibromyalgia symptoms. They also found that the group treated in the previous study maintained their improvements in fibromyalgia symptoms, functional deficits, and coping abilities with no benefit showing a significantly lessened benefit.

 

Hence, they were able to replicate their prior findings, demonstrating that they were not a one-time event, and they were able to demonstrate that the benefits last at least for 3 months after the end of formal treatment. This is important as fibromyalgia lasts a lifetime. So, having lasting benefit is a prerequisite for a treatment. Yoga practice appears to fulfill these prerequisites and is a safe and effective treatment for fibromyalgia.

 

So, produce lasting improvement in fibromyalgia with yoga.

 

“Yoga’s ability to shift the nervous system out of the stress response and into the relaxation response is vital to people whose central nervous systems are sensitive and naturally hyped way up. It also acts directly on the very muscles where fibromyalgia pain occurs.” – Catherine Guthrie

 

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

 

Carson, J. W., Carson, K. M., Jones, K. D., Mist, S. D., & Bennett, R. M. (2012). Follow-up of Yoga of Awareness for Fibromyalgia: Results at 3 Months and Replication in the Wait-list Group. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 28(9), 804–813. http://doi.org/10.1097/AJP.0b013e31824549b5

 

Abstract

Objectives

Published preliminary findings from a randomized-controlled trial suggest that an 8-week Yoga of Awareness intervention may be effective for improving symptoms, functional deficits, and coping abilities in fibromyalgia. The primary aims of this study were to evaluate the same intervention’s posttreatment effects in a wait-list group and to test the intervention’s effects at 3-month follow-up in the immediate treatment group.

Methods

Unpaired t tests were used to compare data from a per protocol sample of 21 women in the immediate treatment group who had completed treatment and 18 women in the wait-list group who had completed treatment. Within-group paired t tests were performed to compare posttreatment data with 3-month follow-up data in the immediate treatment group. The primary outcome measure was the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire Revised (FIQR). Multilevel random-effects models were also used to examine associations between yoga practice rates and outcomes.

Results

Posttreatment results in the wait-list group largely mirrored results seen at posttreatment in the immediate treatment group, with the FIQR Total Score improving by 31.9% across the 2 groups. Follow-up results showed that patients sustained most of their posttreatment gains, with the FIQR Total Score remaining 21.9% improved at 3 months. Yoga practice rates were good, and more practice was associated with more benefit for a variety of outcomes.

Discussion

These findings indicate that the benefits of Yoga of Awareness in fibromyalgia are replicable and can be maintained.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5568073/