Yoga Practice is a Safe and Effective Treatment for Patients Recovering from Heart Failure

Yoga Practice is a Safe and Effective Treatment for Patients Recovering from Heart Failure

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“With heart failure rates accelerating alongside other cardiovascular diseases in our society, the need for a medically effective and cost-effective solution is more pressing than ever. Fortunately, in addition to its broad range of heart-related health benefits, yoga offers an inexpensive solution for those who may not be able to afford regular treatments for their condition.” – Melinda Gosvig

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” – Centers for Disease Control. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a major type of cardiovascular disease. “CHF is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscles. While often referred to simply as “heart failure,” CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently” (Healthline).

 

There are myriads of treatments that have been developed to treat Heart Failure including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. Importantly, lifestyle changes have proved to be quite effective. 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. In addition, mindfulness practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga for Heart Failure: A Review and Future Research.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934956/ ), Pullen and colleagues review the published research literature on the effects of yoga practice on heart failure patients. They found that the published randomized clinical trials report that yoga practice improves cardiac function, and exercise capacity and reduces body weight, depression, blood pressure, and markers of inflammation in heart failure patients. Hence yoga practice helps with the physical and psychological well-being of patients with heart failure.

 

The authors postulate that yoga has these benefits as a result of its ability to reduce stress responses. This in turn increases the activity of the calming parasympathetic nervous system which, in turn, reduces heart rate, blood pressure, inflammatory responses, and physiological arousal in general. In this way the practice of yoga is thought to be beneficial for the patients. Hence, yoga practice calm the physiology allowing the patient to strengthen and heal.

 

So, they report that yoga practice is a safe and effective treatment for patients recovering from heart failure.

 

“yoga can help lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity, improve respiratory function and heart rate, and boost circulation and muscle tone. It can also improve your overall well-being while offering strength-building benefits.” – M. Mala Cunningham

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Pullen, P. R., Seffens, W. S., & Thompson, W. R. (2018). Yoga for Heart Failure: A Review and Future Research. International Journal of Yoga, 11(2), 91–98. http://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_24_17

 

Abstract

Background:

Complementary and alternative medicine is a rapidly growing area of biomedical inquiry. Yoga has emerged in the forefront of holistic medical care due to its long history of linking physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Research in yoga therapy (YT) has associated improved cardiovascular and quality of life (QoL) outcomes for the special needs of heart failure (HF) patients.

Aim:

The aim of this study is to review yoga intervention studies on HF patients, discuss proposed mechanisms, and examine yoga’s effect on physiological systems that have potential benefits for HF patients. Second, to recommend future research directions to find the most effective delivery methods of yoga to medically stable HF patients.

Methods:

The authors conducted a systematic review of the medical literature for RCTs involving HF patients as participants in yoga interventions and for studies utilizing mechanistic theories of stretch and new technologies. We examined physical intensity, mechanistic theories, and the use of the latest technologies.

Conclusions:

Based on the review, there is a need to further explore yoga mechanisms and research options for the delivery of YT. Software apps as exergames developed for use at home and community activity centers may minimize health disparities and increase QoL for HF patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934956/

 

Improve Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Coronary Disease Rehabilitation with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Coronary Disease Rehabilitation with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“practicing tai chi may help to modestly lower blood pressure. It’s also proved helpful for people with heart failure, who tend to be tired and weak as a result of the heart’s diminished pumping ability. The slow movements involve both the upper and lower body, which safely strengthens the heart and major muscle groups without undue strain.” – Harvard Heart Letter

 

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

 

Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. In addition, mindfulness practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction.  Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. Since Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and a gentle exercise, it may be an acceptable and effective treatment for coronary disease patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Tai Chi on Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Coronary Disease Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758591/ ), Yang and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of 5 published research articles on the use of Tai Chi for the treatment of patients with coronary disease.

 

They found that in comparison to other gentle aerobic exercise practice Tai Chi produced significantly greater improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness, or aerobic capacity, which is reflected by VO2max, measured with a stress test. But, the effect was not as great as that produced by vigorous aerobic exercise. No adverse events were reported. Hence, Tai Chi practice was found to be safe and effective in improving cardiorespiratory fitness in patients with coronary disease.

 

Tai Chi practice was not as effective as vigorous aerobic exercise. But it is difficult to get patients with coronary disease to engage in and sustain vigorous exercise. It scares them and produces considerable discomfort. Tai Chi practice, on the other hand, is gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. So, Tai Chi practice may be an ideal treatment for patients with coronary disease, not only one that is effective but also one that they will engage in and sustain.

 

So, improve cardiorespiratory fitness in coronary disease rehabilitation with Tai Chi.

 

“Both fear of exercise and the perception of cardiac rehabilitation as dangerous were the most commonly reported reasons for declining participation in cardiac rehabilitation. Tai chi can clearly overcome these barriers because it is a different form of exercise. During training, participants are constantly reminded they do not need to strive or struggle to achieve predetermined goals in terms of heart rate or exercise intensity. Instead, they are invited to focus their attention on the breath and/or on the movements of the body. As a result, participants do not see tai chi exercise as threatening, and this may result in improvements in exercise self-efficacy,” – Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher

 

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

 

Yang, Y., Wang, Y., Wang, S., Shi, P., & Wang, C. (2017). The Effect of Tai Chi on Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Coronary Disease Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 1091. http://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.01091

 

Abstract

Background: Tai Chi that originated in China as a martial art is an aerobic exercise with low-to-moderate intensity and may play a role in cardiac rehabilitation.

Aim: To systematically review the effect of Tai Chi on cardiorespiratory fitness for coronary disease rehabilitation.

Methods: We performed a search for Chinese and English studies in the following databases: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database, Wanfang Data, and China Science and Technology Journal Database. The search strategy included terms relating to or describing Tai Chi and coronary disease, and there were no exclusion criteria for other types of diseases or disorders. Further, bibliographies of the related published systematic reviews were also reviewed. The searches, data extraction, and risk of bias (ROB) assessments were conducted by two independent investigators. Differences were resolved by consensus. RevMan 5.3.0 was used to analyze the study results. We used quantitative synthesis if the included studies were sufficiently homogeneous and performed subgroup analyses for studies with different control groups. To minimize bias in our findings, we used GRADEpro to grade the available evidence.

Results: Five studies were enrolled—two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and three nonrandomized controlled trials (N-RCTs)—that included 291 patients. All patients had coronary disease. ROB assessments showed a relatively high selection and detection bias. Meta-analyses showed that compared to other types of low- or moderate-intensity exercise, Tai Chi could significantly improve VO2max [MD = 4.71, 95% CI (3.58, 5.84), P < 0.00001], but it seemed less effective at improving VO2max as compared to high-intensity exercise. This difference, however, was not statistically significant [MD = −1.10, 95% CI (−2.46, 0.26), P = 0.11]. The GRADEpro showed a low level of the available evidence.

Conclusion: Compared to no exercise or other types of exercise with low-to-moderate intensity, Tai Chi seems a good choice for coronary disease rehabilitation in improving cardiorespiratory fitness. However, owing to the poor methodology quality, more clinical trials with large sample size, strict randomization, and clear description about detection and reporting processes are needed to further verify the evidence.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758591/

 

Improve Relaxation and Mood by Walking in a Forest

Improve Relaxation and Mood by Walking in a Forest

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Forest bathing isn’t just hiking, but it also isn’t hard to learn. It won’t necessarily change your life. But it has roots in a real, scientifically observed process, and it’s a great way to learn basic meditation.” – Nick Douglas

 

Modern living is stressful, perhaps, in part because it has divorced us from the natural world that our species was immersed in throughout its evolutionary history. Modern environments may be damaging to our health and well-being simply because the species did not evolve to cope with them. This suggests that returning to nature, at least occasionally, may be beneficial. Indeed, researchers are beginning to study nature walks or what the Japanese call “Forest Bathing” and their effects on our mental and physical health.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found routinely to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. People have long reported that walking in nature elevates their mood. It appears intuitively obvious that if it occurred in a beautiful natural place, it would greatly lift the spirits. But, there is little systematic research regarding these effects. It’s possible that walking in nature might improve relaxation and mood and relieve stress..

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Walking in Bamboo Forest and City Environments on Brainwave Activity in Young Adults.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896408/ ), Hassan and colleagues recruited college students and randomly assigned them to one of two groups. The first group walked for 15 minutes in a bamboo forest on day one while on the second day walked for 15 minutes in a city. The second group did the same but in reverse order. Participants blood pressure and mood were measured before and after the walks and their brain activity was measured with an Electroencephalogram (EEG) during the walks.

 

They found that walking in both environments reduced blood pressure but blood pressure was significantly lower both before and after the bamboo forest walk. During the bamboo forest but not the city walks, the EEG had significant increases in rhythmic activity in the alpha (8-12 cycles per second) and theta (4-7.5 cycles per second) rhythm bands. These are the same bands that increase during meditation. There was also a significant increase in the beta (13-30 cycles per second) rhythm band which is associated with attention. In addition, after the bamboo forest walk, the students reported feeling more relaxed, comfortable, and natural, and less anxious, than after the city walk.

 

These are interesting results that demonstrate that “Forest Bathing”, walking in a bamboo forest for 15 minutes, produces both a physiological and psychological relaxation and mood improvement. The Electroencephalogram (EEG) results suggest that walking in a forest has similar effects to that of meditation. Indeed, performing walking meditation in nature has been found to significantly improve responses to stress. These results, then, are empirical support for the long-held belief that walking in nature has particularly beneficial effects.

 

So, improve relaxation and mood by walking in a forest.

 

“The idea that spending time in nature is good for our health is not new. Most of human evolutionary history was spent in environments that lack buildings and walls. Our bodies have adapted to living in the natural world. But today most of us spend much of our life indoors, or at least tethered to devices. Perhaps the new forest bathing trend is a recognition that many of us need a little nudge to get back out there.” – Allison Aubrey

 

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

 

Hassan, A., Tao, J., Li, G., Jiang, M., Aii, L., Zhihui, J., … Qibing, C. (2018). Effects of Walking in Bamboo Forest and City Environments on Brainwave Activity in Young Adults. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2018, 9653857. http://doi.org/10.1155/2018/9653857

 

Abstract

Background. In Japan, “Shinrin-yoku” or forest bathing (spending time in forests) is a major practice used for relaxation. However, its effects on promoting human mental health are still under consideration. The objective of this study was to investigate the physiological and psychological relaxation effects of forest walking on adults. Sixty participants (50% males; 50% females) were trained to walk 15-minute predetermined courses in a bamboo forest and a city area (control). The length of the courses was the same to allow comparison of the effects of both environments. Blood pressure and EEG results were measured to assess the physiological responses and the semantic differential method (SDM) and STAI were used to study the psychological responses. Blood pressure was significantly decreased and variation in brain activity was observed in both environments. The results of the two questionnaires indicated that walking in the bamboo forest improves mood and reduces anxiety. Moreover, the mean meditation and attention scores were significantly increased after walking in a bamboo forest. The results of the physiological and psychological measurements indicate the relaxing effects of walking in a bamboo forest on adults.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896408/

 

Improve Glucodynamics in Coronary Artery Disease with Meditation

Improve Glucodynamics in Coronary Artery Disease with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Meditation can be a useful part of cardiovascular risk reduction/ I do recommend it, along with diet and exercise. It can also help decrease the sense of stress and anxiety.” – Deepak Bhatt

 

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” (Centers for Disease Control). Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is highly associated with Type 2 diabetes and those with Type 2 diabetes have a significantly higher risk of death from CAD. So, control of blood glucose and insulin levels are important in the treatment and prevention of CAD.

 

A myriad of treatments has been developed for heart disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. But the safest effective treatments are lifestyle changes. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Cardiac rehabilitation programs for patients recovering from a heart attack, emphasize these lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiac patients decline participation, making these patients at high risk for another attack. Other safe and effective treatments for cardiovascular disease are contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to prevent heart disease such as smoking cessationweight reduction, and stress reduction.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of 6 months of meditation on blood sugar, glycosylated hemoglobin, and insulin levels in patients of coronary artery disease. Int J Yoga.” (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=2;spage=122;epage=128;aulast=Sinha ), Sinha and colleagues recruited patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and prescribed for them a program of medications and dietary restrictions. They were then randomly assigned to either receive an additional meditation practice or no further treatment. Meditation was focused on breathing, the body, distress, and self-compassion and was practiced twice a week for 6 months. They were measured before during and after treatment for hemoglobin, blood sugar, fasting glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and fasting serum insulin.

 

They found that after treatment the meditation group but not the control group had significant decreases in fasting and after meal blood sugar and fasting glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), a marker of good control of blood glucose levels. It is good to remember that all of these patients, meditation, and control, received standard dietary and drug treatments. So, the beneficial effects of meditation were additional to the effects of the usual treatment. Hence, meditation improved markers of the development of type 2 diabetes in these patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Unfortunately, there wasn’t a control in the study for expectancy, experimenter bias, or attentional effects, so the conclusions must be tempered with caution.

 

Mindfulness training has previously been shown to be helpful in the treatment of diabetes. The importance of the present findings is that meditation can also help prevent type 2 diabetes in a delicate and vulnerable population of patients with CAD. This suggests that meditation training may help to promote the health and well-being and potentially the longevity of CAD patients.

 

So, improve glucodynamics in coronary artery disease with meditation.

 

“meditation, which includes mindfulness approaches and Transcendental Meditation, can be considered in addition to existing standard treatment for heart problems, including lowering cholesterol, losing weight and stopping smoking.” – American Heart Association

 

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

 

Sinha SS, Jain AK, Tyagi S, Gupta S K, Mahajan AS. Effect of 6 months of meditation on blood sugar, glycosylated hemoglobin, and insulin levels in patients of coronary artery disease. Int J Yoga 2018;11:122-8

 

Background and Objectives: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. It has been recognized that stress, diabetes, and hypertension are important in etiology and progression of CAD. This study is to evaluate the role of meditation in improving biochemical parameters such as blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, and serum insulin levels in known CAD patients. Material and Methods: Sixty CAD patients are divided into two groups of which one group did meditation and other did not. Blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, and fasting serum insulin levels were measured before and at the end of 6 months of study in both the groups. Results: At the end of the study, significant decrease was seen in patients who practiced meditation as compared to other group. Conclusion: Meditation may modulate the physiological response to stress through neurohumoral activation, which may be a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of CAD.

http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=2;spage=122;epage=128;aulast=Sinha

Improve Psychological Well-being in Coronary Artery Disease Patients with Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy

Improve Psychological Well-being in Coronary Artery Disease Patients with Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Given the proven role of stress in heart attacks and coronary artery disease, effective meditation would be appropriate for almost all patients with coronary artery disease.”Joon Sup Lee

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” (Centers for Disease Control). “Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients (coronary arteries) become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) in your arteries and inflammation are usually to blame for coronary artery disease.” – (Mayo Clinic)

 

A myriad of treatments has been developed for heart disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. But the safest effective treatments are lifestyle changes. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease are contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to prevent heart disease such as smoking cessationweight reduction, and stress reduction.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy on Psychological Symptoms in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852419/ ), Jang and colleagues studied the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT) on the psychological states of patients with coronary artery disease. They recruited outpatients with coronary artery disease and randomly assigned them to either receive 12 weeks, once a week for 45 minutes, of Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT) or a treatment as usual control. MBAT was based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program and included meditation, yoga, and body scan practices along with training in expressing their emotions through art and drawing. Patients were measured before and after training for anxiety, depression, and anger.

 

They found that the MBAT trained patients in comparison to baseline and the treatment as usual group had large and significant reduction in depression, anxiety and depression following treatment. In addition, there were large and significant decreases in experiences of anger and expressions of anger and also increases in anger control. Hence, the Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT) program was successful in improving the psychological well-being of patients with coronary heart disease.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t an active control conditions so the conclusions must be tempered with the understanding that there were considerable opportunities for bias and participant expectations to affect the results and there was no long-term follow-up to determine the durability of the effects. The findings, however, are encouraging and should provide encouragement for conducting a larger trial with active control conditions, e.g. aerobic exercise and long-term follow-up.

 

So, improve psychological well-being in coronary artery disease patients with mindfulness-based art therapy.

 

“15 minutes of meditation a day reduced the risk of death, heart attack, and stroke by 48 per cent” – British Heart Foundation

 

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

 

Jang, S.-H., Lee, J.-H., Lee, H.-J., & Lee, S.-Y. (2018). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy on Psychological Symptoms in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease. Journal of Korean Medical Science, 33(12), e88. http://doi.org/10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e88

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT) induces emotional relaxation in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients, and is a treatment known to improve psychological stability. The objective of this study was to evaluate the treatment effects of MBAT for CAD patients.

Methods

A total of 44 CAD patients were selected as participants, 21 patients belonged to a MBAT group, and 23 patients belonged to the control group. The patients in the MBAT group were given 12 sessions of treatments. To measure depression and anxiety, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Trait Anxiety Inventory (TAI) were used. Anger and anger expression were evaluated using the State Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI). The treatment results were analyzed using two-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Results

The results showed that significant effects for groups, time, and interaction in the depression (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 23.15, P < 0.001]; between groups, [F(1,36) = 5.73, P = 0.022]), trait anxiety (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 13.23, P < 0.001]; between groups, [F(1,36) = 4.38, P = 0.043]), state anger (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 5.60, P = 0.023]), trait anger (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 6.93, P = 0.012]; within group, [F(1,36) = 4.73, P = 0.036]), anger control (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 8.41, P = 0.006]; within group, [F(1,36) = 9.41, P = 0.004]), anger out (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 6.88, P = 0.012]; within group, [F(1,36) = 13.17, P < 0.001]; between groups, [F(1,36) = 5.62, P = 0.023]), and anger in (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 32.66, P < 0.001]; within group, [F(1,36) = 25.90, P < 0.001]; between groups, [F(1,36) = 12.44, P < 0.001]).

Conclusion

MBAT can be seen as an effective treatment method that improves CAD patients’ psychological stability. Evaluation of treatment effects using program development and large-scale research for future clinical application is needed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852419/

 

Improve Cardiovascular Function in Heart Failure Patients with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiovascular Function in Heart Failure Patients with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai chi has proven especially beneficial for people with heart failure, who tend to be tired and weak as a result of their heart’s diminished pumping ability. The upper- and lower-body movements safely strengthen the heart and major muscle groups.” – Harvard Health Letter

 

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

 

Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. In addition, mindfulness practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction.  Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

Since Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise, it may be an acceptable and effective treatment for heart failure patients. In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Tai Chi Training in Patients with Heart Failure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770613/ ), Ren and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the 11 published research studies with a combined 636 patients, on the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for the treatment of heart failure patients.

 

They report that the research findings support the conclusions that Tai Chi practice significantly increases the distance that the patients can walk in 6 minutes. It also significantly reduces heart rate and the levels of serum B-type natriuretic peptide; a marker of heart failure and significantly increases left ventricular ejection fraction; a marker of heart health. But, they also report that Tai Chi practice did not improve a number of other measures of cardiac function; including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, maximum oxygen uptake, and timed get up and go.

 

These results are encouraging and suggest that Tai Chi practice can improve many aspects of cardiac function in patients with heart failure. But, its’ usefulness must be tempered with the understanding that not all measure of heart health are improved. This suggests that that Tai Chi practice should be used in combination with other therapies to improve the symptoms of heart failure. The fact that it’s gentle and safe, convenient, inexpensive and social make it an ideal exercise to be employed as a step toward more intense exercises for heart health. It should be helpful in helping the 60% of heart failure patients who refuse exercise programs to slowly improve and transition into more intense exercise.

 

So, improve cardiovascular function in heart failure patients with Tai Chi.

 

“for people who don’t do cardiac rehab, tai chi may be a way to entice them to start exercising in a gentle, less intimidating way. It may also act as a gateway to other types of more traditional and intensive exercise that have been shown to improve fitness and potentially lower risk of having further heart attacks.” – Alice Park

 

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

 

Xiaomeng Ren, Yanda Li, Xinyu Yang, Jie Li, Huilong Li, Zhengzhong Yuan, Yikun Sun, Hongcai Shang, Yanwei Xing, Yonghong Gao. The Effects of Tai Chi Training in Patients with Heart Failure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front Physiol. 2017; 8: 989. Published online 2017 Dec 7. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00989

 

Abstract

Heart Failure (HF) is associated with significantly high morbidity and mortality. We performed a meta-analysis and updated new evidences from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to determine the effects of Tai Chi (TC) in patients with HF. Electronic literature search of Medline, PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, China national knowledge infrastructure (CNKI), and Wan Fang Database was conducted from inception of their establishment until 2017. And we also searched Clinical Trials Registries (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ and www.controlled-trials.com) for on-going studies. A total of 11 trials with 656 patients were available for analysis. The results suggested that TC was associated with an obviously improved 6-min walk distance [6MWD, weighted mean difference (WMD) 65.29 m; 95% CI 32.55–98.04] and quality of life (Qol, WMD −11.52 points; 95% CI −16.5 to −6.98) and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF, WMD 9.94%; 95% CI 6.95 to 12.93). TC was shown to reduce serum B-type natriuretic peptide [BNP, standard mean difference (SMD) −1.08 pg/mL; 95% CI −1.91 to −0.26] and heart rate (HR, WMD −2.52 bpm; 95% CI −3.49 to −1.55). In summary, our meta-analysis demonstrated the clinical evidence about TC for HF is inconclusive. TC could improve 6MWD, Qol and LVEF in patients with HF and may reduce BNP and HR. However, there is a lack of evidence to support TC altering other important long-term clinical outcomes so far. Further larger and more sustainable RCTs are urgently needed to investigate the effects of TC.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770613/

Improve Symptoms of Chronic Heart Failure with Mindfulness

Improve Symptoms of Chronic Heart Failure with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“On the surface, heart failure seems to be a purely physical problem. The heart muscle is too weak, or too stiff, to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands.  . .. But it’s an emotional and psychological problem, too, that can lead to depression, anxiety, and grief. These not only cast a pall on daily life, but they can make heart failure worse as well. A program based on the practice of mindfulness helps ease depression and improve symptoms of heart failure.” – Harvard Heart Letter

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” – Centers for Disease Control. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a major type of cardiovascular disease. “CHF is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscles. While often referred to simply as “heart failure,” CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently” (Healthline).

 

There are myriads of treatments that have been developed to treat Heart Failure including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. Importantly, lifestyle changes have proved to be quite effective. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi and yoga, have been shown to be helpful for heart health. In addition, mindfulness practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessation, weight reduction, and stress reduction.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on symptoms and signs in chronic heart failure: A feasibility study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5751854/ ), Norman and colleagues recruited patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure and randomly assigned them to receive either treatment as usual or to participate in an additional mindfulness-based intervention. The intervention was based upon Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program with additional psychoeducation based upon Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and consisted of meditation, yoga, and body scan. They met in 2-hour group sessions once a week for 8 weeks with additional daily home practice. The participants were measured before and after training for fatigue, sleep, heart failure symptoms and their severity, functional capacity, resting heart and respiration rate, and body size.

 

They found compared to baseline and control participants, those that participated in the mindfulness intervention had significantly less fatigue, unsteadiness/dizziness, and improved physical functioning, including less breathlessness during activities and greater walking distance. Hence, mindfulness practice was found to improve the symptoms of heart failure.

 

This was a small study and needs to be followed up with a larger controlled clinical trial with an active control group, e.g. exercise, and longer-term follow-up. But, this initial study is encouraging. Although no component analysis was performed to identify which elements of the complex mindfulness intervention were effective for which symptoms, it can be speculated that the exercise provided by the yoga practice and the stress reduction provided by the mindfulness practice were responsible for the improvements in the symptoms of heart failure.

 

So, improve symptoms of chronic heart failure with mindfulness.

 

“a significant part of the link between mindfulness and cardiovascular health was attributable to mindful people feeling a greater sense of control and less depression, which is thought to lead to more heart-friendly behaviors.” 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

 

Jonna Norman, Michael Fu, Inger Ekman, Lena Björck, Kristin Falk. Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on symptoms and signs in chronic heart failure: A feasibility study. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2018 Jan; 17(1): 54–65. Published online 2017 Jun 22. doi: 10.1177/1474515117715843

 

Abstract

Aims:

Despite treatment recommended by guidelines, many patients with chronic heart failure remain symptomatic. Evidence is accumulating that mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have beneficial psychological and physiological effects. The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility of MBI on symptoms and signs in patients with chronic heart failure in outpatient clinical settings.

Methods:

A prospective feasibility study. Fifty stable but symptomatic patients with chronic heart failure, despite optimized guideline-recommended treatment, were enrolled at baseline. In total, 40 participants (median age 76 years; New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification II−III) adhered to the study. Most patients (n=17) were randomized into MBI, a structured eight-week mindfulness-based educational and training programme, or controls with usual care (n=16). Primary outcome was self-reported fatigue on the Fatigue severity scale. Secondary outcomes were self-reported sleep quality, unsteadiness/dizziness, NYHA functional classification, walking distance in the six-minute walk test, and heart and respiratory rates. The Mann–Whitney U test was used to analyse median sum changes from baseline to follow-up (week 10±1).

Results:

Compared with usual care (zero change), MBI significantly reduced the self-reported impact of fatigue (effect size −8.0; p=0.0165), symptoms of unsteadiness/dizziness (p=0.0390) and breathlessness/tiredness related to physical functioning (NYHA class) (p=0.0087). No adverse effects were found.

Conclusions:

In stable but symptomatic outpatients with chronic heart failure, MBI alleviated self-reported symptoms in addition to conventional treatment. The sample size is small and further studies are needed, but findings support the role of MBI as a feasible complementary option, both clinically and as home-based treatment, which might contribute to reduction of the symptom burden in patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5751854/

Improve Arthritis with Qigong

Improve Arthritis with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Qigong techniques are simple and do not need to be carried out precisely to bring about its great benefits. Qigong practice is known for preventing disease, strengthening immunity and producing better health and well-being. However it is under-appreciated, even in China, that Qigong therapy can be effective for relieving pain and treating arthritis.” – Kellen Chia

 

Arthritis is a chronic disease that most commonly affects the joints. There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Depending on the type of arthritis symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and decreased range of motion. It affects an estimated 52.5 million adults in the United States. It is associated with aging as arthritis occurs in only 7% of adults ages 18–44, while 30% adults ages 45–64 are affected, and 50% of adults ages 65 or older. The pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility associate with arthritis produce fatigue and markedly reduce the quality of life of the sufferers. Arthritis can have very negative psychological effects diminishing the individual’s self-image and may lead to depression, isolation, and withdrawal from friends and social activities Arthritis reduces the individual’s ability to function at work and may require modifications of work activities which can lead to financial difficulties. It even affects the individual’s physical appearance. In addition, due to complications associated with rheumatoid arthritis, particularly cardiovascular disease, the lifespan for people with rheumatoid arthritis may be shortened by 10 years.

 

It is obvious that there is a need for a safe and effective treatment to help rheumatoid arthritis sufferers cope with the disease and its consequences. Increasing exercise has been shown to increase flexibility and mobility but many form of exercise are difficult for the arthritis sufferer to engage in and many drop out. But all that may be needed is gentle movements of the joints. Qigong or Tai Chi training are designed to enhance and regulate the functional activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. They have been shown to have many physical and psychological benefits, especially for the elderly. Because They are not strenuous, involving slow gentle movements, and are safe, having no appreciable side effects, they are appropriate for an elderly population. So, it would seem that Qigong or Tai Chi practice would be well suited to treat arthritis in seniors.

 

In today’s Research News article “Qigong Exercise and Arthritis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750595/ ), Marks reviewed and summarized the published research on the effectiveness of Qigong practice for the treatment of arthritis. He found that Qigong practice produced significant improvements in the musculoskeletal system including increased strength, joint flexibility, posture, balance motor function, and motor coordination, and improvements in quality of life and cognitive function. In addition, the research reported decreased pain, fatigue, and blood pressure and improved immune function, metabolic function, circulation, aerobic capacity, and reduced falls, improved psychological health, mood, and sleep.

 

These are impressive results. Scientific research suggests that Qigong practice produces  widespread improvements in mental and physical health in arthritis sufferers. In addition, it is inexpensive, convenient, appropriate for individuals of all ages and health condition and is safe to practice, making it an almost ideal treatment for the symptoms of arthritis.

 

So, improve arthritis with Qigong.

 

“Qigong focuses on relaxing the body, which over time, allows the joints and muscles to loosen up, improving the circulation of fluids and blood. The practice focuses on rebuilding overall health and strengthening the spirit, while encouraging one to change the way one looks at life in general, and at the illness affecting you.” – 1MD

 

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

 

Ray Marks. Qigong Exercise and Arthritis. Medicines (Basel) 2017 Dec; 4(4): 71. Published online 2017 Sep 27. doi: 10.3390/medicines4040071

 

Abstract

Background: Arthritis is a chronic condition resulting in considerable disability, particularly in later life. Aims: The first aim of this review was to summarize and synthesize the research base concerning the use of Qigong exercises as a possible adjunctive strategy for promoting well-being among adults with arthritis. A second was to provide related intervention directives for health professionals working or who are likely to work with this population in the future. Methods: Material specifically focusing on examining the nature of Qigong for minimizing arthritis disability, pain and dependence and for improving life quality was sought. Results: Collectively, despite almost no attention to this topic, available data reveal that while more research is indicated, Qigong exercises—practiced widely in China for many centuries as an exercise form, mind-body and relaxation technique—may be very useful as an intervention strategy for adults with different forms of painful disabling arthritis. Conclusion: Health professionals working with people who have chronic arthritis can safely recommend these exercises to most adults with this condition with the expectation they will heighten the life quality of the individual, while reducing pain and depression in adults with this condition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750595/

Improve Heart Disease with Mindfulness

Improve Heart Disease with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“it is not the stress in our life, but the reaction to stress that is so potentially harmful to our health, including cardiovascular health. Hence, being in a potentially very stressful profession, meditation and relaxation techniques are extremely important and useful to minimize these unhealthy reactions to stress.” – Joon Sup Lee

 

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

 

Other safe and effective treatments for cardiovascular disease are contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to prevent heart disease such as smoking cessationweight reduction, and stress reduction. Although death from heart disease is decreasing in men it is actually increasing in women. So, there is a need to study the effectiveness of mindfulness practice for the treatment of cardiovascular disease in women.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impact of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Therapy on Myocardial Function and Endothelial Dysfunction in Female Patients with Microvascular Angina.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5762694/ ), Kim and colleagues recruited women who were diagnosed with microvascular angina which is “heart disease that affects the heart’s smallest coronary artery blood vessels. Causes of microvascular angina: Spasms within the walls of these very small arterial blood vessels causes reduced blood flow to the heart muscle leading to a type of chest pain referred to as microvascular angina.” (American Heart Association). The women were provided with an 8-week, 2.5 hour once-a-week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) which includes of meditation, yoga, and body scan practices and on hour per day of home practice. Participants were measured for heart function and stress parameters before and after the 8-week practice.

 

Kim and colleagues found that following the 8-week MBSR program there was a marked and significant decrease in most stress parameters including somatization, compulsivity, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism. Importantly there were improvements in cardiovascular functions including a decrease in systolic blood pressure and improvements in heart left ventricular function and heart arterial blood vessel function. Additionally, they found that the greater the reduction in the stress parameters the greater the improvements in heart function.

 

Conclusions from this study must be tempered as there wasn’t a comparison group included in the study, only females were examined, and no short- or long-term follow-up was included. But previous research has clearly established that mindfulness training, including MBSR, produces significant reductions in the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improves cardiovascular function. These prior findings combined with the present findings makes the case that MBSR reduces stress response which in turn improves cardiovascular function. This is very important for the promotion of longevity and well being in everyone but particularly for patients with cardiovascular disease.

 

So, improve heart disease with mindfulness,

 

“an analysis of 23 controlled trials into heart disease determined that psychosocial interventions (such as meditation, breathing exercises, and physical relaxation techniques) improved the outcomes when they were added to cardiac rehabilitation programmes for patients with CHD.” – British Heart Foundation

 

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

 

Bong Joon Kim, In Suk Cho, Kyoung Im Cho. Impact of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Therapy on Myocardial Function and Endothelial Dysfunction in Female Patients with Microvascular Angina. J Cardiovasc Ultrasound. 2017 Dec; 25(4): 118–123. Published online 2017 Dec 29. doi: 10.4250/jcu.2017.25.4.118

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a structured group program that employs mindfulness meditation to alleviate suffering associated with physical, psychosomatic, and psychiatric disorders. In this study, we investigate the impact of MBSR on left ventricular (LV) and endothelial function in female patients with microvascular angina.

Methods

A total of 34 female patients (mean age 52.2 ± 13.8 years) diagnosed with microvascular angina underwent a MBSR program with anti-anginal medication for 8 weeks. The global longitudinal strain (GLS) of the LV was used as a parameter to assess myocardial function and reactive brachial flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) was used to assess endothelial function. Symptoms were analyzed by the Symptom Checklist 90 Revised to determine emotional stress. Changes in GLS and FMD between baseline and post-MBSR were analyzed.

Results

After 8 weeks of programmed MBSR treatment, stress parameters were significantly decreased. In addition, GLS (−19.5 ± 2.1% vs. −16.6 ± 2.5%, p < 0.001) and reactive FMD significantly improved (8.9 ± 3.0% vs. 6.9 ± 2.6%, p = 0.005) after MBSR compared to baseline. The changes in GLS correlated to changes in FMD (r = 0.120, p = 0.340) and with the changes in most stress parameters.

Conclusion

MBSR has beneficial impacts on myocardial and endothelial function in female patients with microvascular angina.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5762694/

 

Reduce Blood Pressure and Improve Vigilance with Yogic Alternative Nostril Breathing

Reduce Blood Pressure and Improve Vigilance with Yogic Alternative Nostril Breathing

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Alternate Nostril Breathing helps calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and bring a feeling of relaxation to the entire body.” – Art of Living

 

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 “Alternate-Nostril Yoga Breathing Reduced Blood Pressure While Increasing Performance in a Vigilance Test.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5755948/ ), Telles and colleagues recruited male college students and had them practice either Alternate-Nostril Yoga Breathing, Breath Awareness, or quiet rest for 18 minutes on three separate days in random order. The participants were measured before and after each practice for blood pressure and vigilance. To measure vigilance, they had the participants perform a digit vigilance test in which they were asked to cancel the numbers 6 and 9 from a page of 1500 random digits and recorded the time to complete the task and the number of errors made.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the control conditions of breath awareness and quiet sitting there was a significant reduction in systolic and arterial blood pressure following alternate nostril breathing. They also found that after alternate nostril breathing there was a significant reduction in the time to complete the vigilance task. But, this was also true for the quiet sitting condition. Hence, alternate nostril breathing appears to reduce the level of activation and improve vigilance. But, the improvement in vigilance may be simply due to the rest provided by the task. This suggests that yoga practice has its beneficial effects, in part, by the ability of the breathing practices to reduce physiological activation.

 

So, reduce blood pressure and improve vigilance with yogic alternative nostril breathing.

 

“Alternate Nostril Breathing: This simple yet most powerful technique is a pranayama that is easy to do, and it creates a deep sense of well-being and harmony on the physical, mental, and emotional levels. It is integrating and grounding, and balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain.” – Yogi Bhajan

 

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

 

Shirley Telles, Sadhana Verma, Sachin Kumar Sharma, Ram Kumar Gupta, Acharya Balkrishna. Alternate-Nostril Yoga Breathing Reduced Blood Pressure While Increasing Performance in a Vigilance Test. Med Sci Monit Basic Res. 2017; 23: 392–398. Published online 2017 Dec 29. doi: 10.12659/MSMBR.906502

 

Abstract

Background

Reports suggest that vigilance or sustained attention increases sympathetic activity. A persistent increase in sympathetic activity can lead to an increase in blood pressure. Alternate-nostril yoga breathing has been shown to be useful to (i) improve attention and (ii) decrease the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Earlier studies did not report simultaneous recordings of the blood pressure and performance in vigilance tests after alternate-nostril yoga breathing. With this background, the present study was planned to determine if 15 minutes of alternate nostril yoga breathing could improve the performance in a vigilance test without an increase in blood pressure.

Material/Methods

Fifteen healthy male volunteers participated in the study (group mean age ±SD, 22.4±2.4 years). Participants were assessed on 3 separate days in 3 different sessions. These were (i) alternate nostril yoga breathing, (ii) breath awareness, and (iii) sitting quietly as a control. Blood pressure and the digit vigilance test were simultaneously assessed before and after each session.

Results

Systolic blood pressure (p<0.01), mean arterial blood pressure (p<0.05), and the time taken to complete the digit vigilance test (p<0.05) significantly decreased following alternate-nostril yoga breathing. The time taken to complete the digit vigilance test differed significantly between sessions (p<0.05). The time taken to complete the digit vigilance test was also significantly decreased after sitting quietly (p<0.01).

Conclusions

Alternate-nostril yoga breathing appears to improve performance in the digit vigilance test, along with a reduction in systolic blood pressure. This is suggestive of better vigilance without sympathetic activation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5755948/