Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Patients with Cardiovascular Disease with Tai Chi

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Patients with Cardiovascular Disease with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai Chi involves a series of graceful, gentle movements that can get your heart rate up while also relaxing your mind. It’s been called meditation in motion.” – Cleveland Heart Lab

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. A myriad of treatments has been developed 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. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiovascular disease patients decline engaging in these lifestyle changes, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to be safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease. Practices such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have been shown to be helpful for heart health and to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. They have also been shown to be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health and the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Does tai chi improve psychological well-being and quality of life in patients with cardiovascular disease and/or cardiovascular risk factors? A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8725570/ ) Yang and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for patients with cardiovascular disease. They identified 37 published trials.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi practiced improved the psychological well-being of the patients including decreases in perceived stress, anxiety, depression, bodily pain and increases in mental health, self-efficacy, and mood.

 

Hence practicing Tai Chi improves the mental health and quality of life of patients with cardiovascular disease.

 

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 Health

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Yang, G., Li, W., Klupp, N., Cao, H., Liu, J., Bensoussan, A., Kiat, H., Karamacoska, D., & Chang, D. (2022). Does tai chi improve psychological well-being and quality of life in patients with cardiovascular disease and/or cardiovascular risk factors? A systematic review. BMC complementary medicine and therapies, 22(1), 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-021-03482-0

 

Abstract

Background

Psychological risk factors have been recognised as potential, modifiable risk factors in the development and progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Tai Chi, a mind-body exercise, has the potential to improve psychological well-being and quality of life. We aim to assess the effects and safety of Tai Chi on psychological well-being and quality of life in people with CVD and/or cardiovascular risk factors.

Methods

We searched for randomised controlled trials evaluating Tai Chi for psychological well-being and quality of life in people with CVD and cardiovascular risk factors, from major English and Chinese databases until 30 July 2021. Two authors independently conducted study selection and data extraction. Methodological quality was evaluated using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Review Manager software was used for meta-analysis.

Results

We included 37 studies (38 reports) involving 3525 participants in this review. The methodological quality of the included studies was generally poor. Positive effects of Tai Chi on stress, self-efficacy, and mood were found in several individual studies. Meta-analyses demonstrated favourable effects of Tai Chi plus usual care in reducing anxiety (SMD − 2.13, 95% confidence interval (CI): − 2.55, − 1.70, 3 studies, I2 = 60%) and depression (SMD -0.86, 95% CI: − 1.35, − 0.37, 6 studies, I2 = 88%), and improving mental health (MD 7.86, 95% CI: 5.20, 10.52, 11 studies, I2 = 71%) and bodily pain (MD 6.76, 95% CI: 4.13, 9.39, 11 studies, I2 = 75%) domains of the 36-Item Short Form Survey (scale from 0 to 100), compared with usual care alone. Tai Chi did not increase adverse events (RR 0.50, 95% CI: 0.21, 1.20, 5 RCTs, I2 = 0%), compared with control group. However, less than 30% of included studies reported safety information.

Conclusions

Tai Chi seems to be beneficial in the management of anxiety, depression, and quality of life, and safe to practice in people with CVD and/or cardiovascular risk factors. Monitoring and reporting of safety information are highly recommended for future research. More well-designed studies are warranted to determine the effects and safety of Tai Chi on psychological well-being and quality of life in this population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8725570/

Meditation is an Effective Treatment for a Variety of Medical Conditions

Meditation is an Effective Treatment for a Variety of Medical Conditions

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

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

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

 

Improve Physical and Mental Health during Aging with Mindfulness

 

Improve Physical and Mental Health during Aging with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The healthier and more active one’s lifestyle, the more likely he or she will maintain cognitive performance over time. And meditation may be a key ingredient for ensuring brain health and maintaining good mental performance.“ – Grace Bullock

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly frequently have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability. In addition, it has been found that

mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners.

 

In today’s Research News article “Long-Term Physical Exercise and Mindfulness Practice in an Aging Population.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00358/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1832518_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220317_arts_A&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d+++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c+%27%27)%2c+0%2c+6))% ) Tang and colleagues compared older adults (average age of 64 years) who were either experienced (> 10 years) meditators or exercisers on physical, mental, immune, stress, and brain plasticity measures.

 

They report that the older adults who exercised had superior cardiovascular and respiratory fitness. But the older adults who meditated had superior physiological relaxation, quality of life, immune response, stress response, and brain plasticity. They conclude that the optimum results for older adults would be produced by combining meditation and exercise. Regardless, it is clear that meditation restrains the physical and mental deterioration with aging.

 

it’s heartening to know that age may not only bring wisdom or sore knees, but also more mindfulness.” – Jenn Director Knudsen 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Tang Y-Y, Fan Y, Lu Q, Tan L-H, Tang R, Kaplan RM, Pinho MC, Thomas BP, Chen K, Friston KJ and Reiman EM (2020) Long-Term Physical Exercise and Mindfulness Practice in an Aging Population. Front. Psychol. 11:358. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00358

 

Previous studies have shown that physical exercise and mindfulness meditation can both lead to improvement in physical and mental health. However, it is unclear whether these two forms of training share the same underlying mechanisms. We compared two groups of older adults with 10 years of mindfulness meditation (integrative body-mind training, IBMT) or physical exercise (PE) experience to demonstrate their effects on brain, physiology and behavior. Healthy older adults were randomly selected from a large community health project and the groups were compared on measures of quality of life, autonomic activity (heart rate, heart rate variability, skin conductance response, respiratory amplitude/rate), immune function (secretory Immunoglobulin A, sIgA), stress hormone (cortisol) and brain imaging (resting state functional connectivity, structural differences). In comparison with PE, we found significantly higher ratings for the IBMT group on dimensions of life quality. Parasympathetic activity indexed by skin conductance response and high-frequency heart rate variability also showed more favorable outcomes in the IBMT group. However, the PE group showed lower basal heart rate and greater chest respiratory amplitude. Basal sIgA level was significantly higher and cortisol concentration was lower in the IBMT group. Lastly, the IBMT group had stronger brain connectivity between the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and the striatum at resting state, as well as greater volume of gray matter in the striatum. Our results indicate that mindfulness meditation and physical exercise function in part by different mechanisms, with PE increasing physical fitness and IBMT inducing plasticity in the central nervous systems. These findings suggest combining physical and mental training may achieve better health and quality of life results for an aging population.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00358/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1832518_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220317_arts_A&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d+++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c+%27%27)%2c+0%2c+6))%

 

Reduce the Psychological and Physical Responses Before a Major Dental Procedure with Yogic Relaxation

Reduce the Psychological and Physical Responses Before a Major Dental Procedure with Yogic Relaxation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Practicing yoga has been effectively proven to reduce stress levels and induce the sense of calmness in individuals, which could help in the management of several stress-induced oral conditions.” – Roquaiya Nishat

 

If you asked most people what’s one of the most common health problems that people have, probably the last thing that they would come up with is oral health. But more than 26% of adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay and 65% of adults had a dental visit every year. A common dental procedure is a root canal that is performed around 15 million times annually. But this procedure is accompanied by great anxiety and stress in the patients. This often results in patients avoiding or delaying needed procedures. There is considerable evidence that yoga practice reduces anxiety and stress. But it is not known if a brief yogic relaxation practice can reduce anxiety and stress prior to a dental root canal procedure.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Pranayama Techniques with Marmanasthanam Kriya as Yogic Relaxation on Biopsychosocial Parameters Prior to Endodontic Therapy: A Cross Sectional Study Design.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191219/ ) Thiruvalluvan and colleagues recruited adults between the ages of 25-50 years who were scheduled to undergo a dental root canal procedure and randomly assigned them to receive either guided Yogic relaxation for 15 minutes before the root canal treatment or to simply relax for 15 minutes. Yoga relaxation included breathing practices, mudras, and body scan exercises. The participants were measured before and after the intervention for anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the relaxation control group, the patients who practiced yogic relaxation had a significant decrease in anxiety, heart rate, and diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Hence, yogic relaxation prior to a dental root canal procedure reduced anxiety and physiological arousal in the patients. It is important to note that yogic relaxation produced superior results to simply asking the patient to relax. This suggests that yogic relaxation produces does more than simply relax the patients.

 

Yoga has been repeatedly shown to reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate in a variety of conditions. The present results demonstrate that a brief yogic relaxation can produce similar effects in patients before a major dental procedure. Anxiety and fear have been found to be major barriers to dental treatment. This leads to patients avoiding or delaying treatment allowing the damage to progress, So, a treatment that can reduce the anxiety before the treatment may be helpful in promoting dental health.

 

So, reduce the psychological and physical responses before a major dental procedure with yogic relaxation.

 

Yoga is versatile, enjoyable and highly beneficial and a great way for dentists and their patients to battle stress and anxiety. ‘– Saurabh Bhargava

 

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

 

Thiruvalluvan, A., Sekizhar, V., Ramanathan, M., Bhavanani, A. B., Chakravathy, D., & Reddy, J. (2021). Effect of Pranayama Techniques with Marmanasthanam Kriya as Yogic Relaxation on Biopsychosocial Parameters Prior to Endodontic Therapy: A Cross Sectional Study Design. International journal of yoga, 14(2), 146–151. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_133_20

 

Abstract

Background:

The root canal treatment is one of the common dental or endodontic therapies associated with high levels of patient anxiety. Yoga therapy (YT) is reported in medical literature as an effective modality in bringing down anxiety in clinical scenarios; however, the reports of the same for dental settings are fewer. The current study aimed to evaluate the effect of YT on biopsychosocial parameters in patients undergoing root canal therapy.

Materials and Methods:

A cross sectional study was conducted on 50 participants who underwent dental root canal therapy. The sample was divided into two groups: Yoga group (Group A; n = 25) who received YT and control group (Group B; n = 25) who were subjected to self-relaxation during dental procedure. The state of anxiety was measured by a 5-point single-item Likert scale and the cardiovascular (CV) parameters (systolic blood pressure [SBP], diastolic blood pressure [DBP], heart rate [HR]) and CV indices (pulse pressure [PP], mean arterial pressure [MAP], rate-pressure product [RPP], and double product [DoP]) were derived and compared between both the groups.

Results:

The intergroup comparison showed statistically significant differences in anxiety score (P < 0.001), SBP (P < 0.001), MAP (P < 0.001), RPP (P < 0.001), DoP (P < 0.001), HR (P < 0.029), DBP (P < 0.003), and PP (P < 0.116).

Conclusion:

A significant reduction was recorded in terms of anxiety and primary and derived CV parameters in the yoga group. The YT can be adopted as an interventional tool for anxiety management in patients indicated for dental root canal therapy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191219/

 

Reduce Age-Associated Decline in Cerebrovascular Function with Tai Chi

Reduce Age-Associated Decline in Cerebrovascular Function with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In addition to the physical components of tai chi, this form of exercise has mental and emotional advantages. Some studies have shown people who perform tai chi on a regular basis see improvements in cognitive function and memory.” – Phillips Lifeline

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly often have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability. In addition, it has been found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation,  yoga, and Tai Chi have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners.

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive function, memory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. So, it makes sense to further study the effects of Tai Chi training on the brains of older adults.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi exercise improves age-associated decline in cerebrovascular function: a cross-sectional study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8101197/ ) Li and colleagues recruited healthy older adult (aged 60-69 years) Tai Chi practitioners, age matched older adult non-practitioners, and healthy young adults (aged 21-25 years). They were measured for heart rate, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI). They also underwent measurement of cerebrovascular hemodynamics.

 

They found that the older the participants the higher the systolic blood pressure but the lower the cerebrovascular blood flow. Importantly, the cerebrovascular hemodynamics of the older Tai Chi practitioners were significantly higher than the age matched controls and the levels approached those of the young adults. Including carotid blood flow velocity, overall elasticity of the arterial wall, and the degree of flow of small blood vessels and capillaries and reduced arterial resistance.

 

The present study was cross-sectional, comparing older adults who practiced Tai Chi to those who did not. This kind of design doesn’t allow for clear conclusions about causation. But previous research by others using training in Tai Chi demonstrated that it reduced age-related decline. So, it is likely that the benefits observed in the present study were also due to the practice of Tai Chi.

 

Age-related reductions in cerebrovascular hemodynamics are associated with cognitive decline and dementia but were not measured in the present study. But previous research has demonstrated that Tai Chi practice improves cognition and reduces dementia. So, it is likely that the observed better cerebrovascular hemodynamics in the older Tai Chi participants is a marker of improvements in cognition and reduced dementia. This suggests that age-related decline in cerebrovascular hemodynamics may be a major cause of cognitive decline and dementia with aging and that Tai Chi practice can reduce these declines by improving cerebrovascular hemodynamics.

 

So, reduce age-associated decline in cerebrovascular function with Tai Chi.

 

Tai Chi exercise had potential beneficial effects on cerebral hemodynamics, plasma risk factors, and balance ability in older community adults” – Guohua Zheng

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Li, L., Wang, J., Guo, S., Xing, Y., Ke, X., Chen, Y., He, Y., Wang, S., Wang, J., Cui, X., Wang, Z., & Tang, L. (2021). Tai Chi exercise improves age-associated decline in cerebrovascular function: a cross-sectional study. BMC geriatrics, 21(1), 293. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-021-02196-9

 

Abstract

Background

Tai Chi exercise has been reported to enhance physical and mental health in the older adults; however, the mechanism remains elusive.

Trial design

We recruited 289 older adults practicing Tai Chi for over 3 years, together with 277 age-matched older and 102 young adults as controls. 168 Tai Chi practitioners were successfully matched to 168 older controls aged 60–69 based on a propensity score for statistics.

Methods

Cerebrovascular function was evaluated by measuring the hemodynamics of the carotid artery. Spearman correlation was performed to validate the age-associated physiological parameters.

Results

Cerebrovascular function in older adults significantly degenerated compared with the young, and was substantially correlated with age. Compared with the older control group, Tai Chi practitioners showed significant improvements in CVHI (cerebral vascular hemodynamics indices) Score (P = 0.002), mean blood flow velocity (P = 0.014), maximal blood flow velocity (P = 0.04) and minimum blood flow velocity (P < 0.001), whereas the age-related increases in pulse wave velocity (P = 0.022), characteristic impedance (P = 0.021) and peripheral resistance (P = 0.044) were lowered.

Conclusions

These data demonstrate a rejuvenation role of Tai Chi in improving the age-related decline of the cerebrovascular function.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8101197/

 

Reduce Blood Pressure in Patients with Hypertension with Tai Chi Practice

High blood pressure: Tai Chi proven to lower blood pressure readings |  Express.co.uk

Reduce Blood Pressure in Patients with Hypertension with Tai Chi Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai chi may be just as effective as popular methods for lowering blood pressure, such as weight loss and lowered sodium intake. . . This means that enjoying tai chi regularly may lower your chance of heart disease.” – Abbott

 

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is an insidious disease because there are no overt symptoms. The individual feels fine. But it can be deadly as more than 360,000 American deaths, roughly 1,000 deaths each day, had high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. In addition, hypertension markedly increases the risk heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.  It is also a very common disorder with about 70 million American adults (29%) having high blood pressure and only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Treatment frequently includes antihypertensive drugs. But these medications often have adverse side effects. So, patients feel lousy when taking the drugs, but fine when they’re not. So, compliance is a major issue with many patients not taking the drugs regularly or stopping entirely.

 

Obviously, there is a need for alternative to drug treatments for hypertension. Mindfulness practices have been shown to aid in controlling hypertension. Mindful movement practices such Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient Chinese practices involving mindfulness and gentle movements. They are easy to learn, safe, and gentle. So, it may be appropriate for patients with hypertension who lack the ability to engage in strenuous exercises. Indeed, Tai Chi practice has been shown to reduce blood pressure. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi as a Therapy of Traditional Chinese Medicine on Reducing Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8437614/ ) Pan and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled research studies of the effects of Tai Chi practice on blood pressure in patients with hypertension. They identified 24 published randomized controlled trials including a total of 2095 participants.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi practice produced significant reductions in both Systolic and Diastolic blood pressure and quality of life in the patients with hypertension. They also report that the improvement in blood pressure produced by Tai Chi practice was equivalent to that produced by antihypertensive drugs and aerobic exercise.

 

The published research, then demonstrates that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective treatment to reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension and it is as effective as antidepressant drugs. But, Tai Chi practice does not have the side effects of the drugs. It was also as effective as aerobic exercise. But, Tai Chi practice can be practiced in social groups making it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. So, Tai Chi practice should be recommended for lowering blood pressure in patients with hypertension.

 

So, reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension with Tai Chi practice.

 

As many Americans grow older, they have become more concerned with staving off high blood pressure, which leads to strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease. These life-threatening diseases can be mitigated by the relaxed, slow movements of Tai Chi, a practice that prevents and even lowers blood pressure.” Tai Chi for Healthy Living

 

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

 

Pan, X., Tian, L., Yang, F., Sun, J., Li, X., An, N., Xing, Y., Su, X., Liu, X., Liu, C., Gao, Y., & Xing, Y. (2021). Tai Chi as a Therapy of Traditional Chinese Medicine on Reducing Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2021, 4094325. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/4094325

 

Abstract

Objective

This study systematically evaluated the effects of Tai Chi exercise on blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and quality of life (QOL) in patients with hypertension. A meta-analysis was performed to provide a reliable reference for clinical practice.

Methods

We searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in five English databases and two Chinese databases, with the earliest data dated December 5, 2020. A quality assessment of the methods and a meta-analysis were also conducted.

Results

The meta-analysis of 24 studies showed that the intervention group showed better outcomes in terms of systolic blood pressure (SBP) (SMD −1.05, 95% CI −1.44 to −0.67, P ≤ 0.001; I2 = 93.7%), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (SMD −0.91, 95% CI −1.24 to −0.58, P ≤ 0.001; I2 = 91.9%), and QOL (physical functioning (SMD 0.86, 95% CI 0.36 to 1.37, P=0.001; I2 = 91.3%), role-physical (SMD 0.86, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.11, P ≤ 0.001; I2 = 65%), general health (SMD 0.75, 95% CI 0.32 to 1.17, P=0.001; I2 = 88.1%), bodily pain (SMD 0.65, 95% CI 0.29 to 1.00, P ≤ 0.001; I2 = 83.1%), vitality (SMD 0.71, 95% CI 0.34 to 1.07, P ≤ 0.001; I2 = 84.3%), social functioning (SMD 0.63, 95% CI 0.07 to 1.19, P=0.027; I2 = 93.1%), role-emotional (SMD 0.64, 95% CI 0.22 to 1.06, P=0.003; I2 = 88.1%), and mental health (SMD 0.73, 95% CI 0.31 to 1.16, P=0.001; I2 = 88.2%)) compared to those of the control group. However, no significant improvements were seen in BMI of the intervention group (SMD −0.08, 95% CI −0.35 to −0.19, P=0.554; I2 = 69.4%) compared to that of the control group.

Conclusion

Tai Chi is an effective intervention to improve SBP and DBP in patients with essential hypertension.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8437614/

 

Reduce Anxiety Around Cardiac Surgery with Yogic Breathing

Reduce Anxiety Around Cardiac Surgery with Yogic Breathing

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Anxiety is the physical, mental and emotional reaction to stress. Both can be calmed through the practice of yoga breathing, also called pranayama.” – M. Patino

 

Patients scheduled for major surgeries usually experience anxiety. This is thoroughly understandable, but this anxiety can contribute to cardiac mortality. Yoga training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. There are a wide variety of different yoga training techniques. But most contain breathing exercises. It is not known if these yogic breathing techniques can help relieve anxiety associated with major surgery.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Short-Term Yoga-Based-Breathing on Peri-Operative Anxiety in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191222/ ) Azeez and colleagues recruited adult patients who were scheduled for cardiac surgery and randomly assigned them to either a no-treatment control condition or to receive 5 daily 60-minute sessions of yogic breathing including alternate nostril breathing, bee breathing, Udgith breathing, Sheetali breathing, and yoga nidra. They completed measures of anxiety before training, pre-surgery and post-surgery.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control condition, the group that performed yogic breathing had significantly lower levels of both state and trait anxiety before surgery and another significant decrease after surgery. These findings need to be tempered with the understanding that the comparison, control, condition was passive leaving open the possibility of expectancy (placebo) effects, bias, and attentional effects. Future research should incorporate an active control condition, e.g. cardiac education.

 

Previous controlled research has demonstrated that yogic breathing reduces stress levels and improves psychological well-being. So, it I likely that the present results were due to yogic breathing exercises relieving anxiety. Although not measured, it would be expected that the lower anxiety levels in these cardiac surgery patients would lead to better surgical outcomes. It remains for future research to follow the patients after surgery to examine recovery and cardiac outcomes.

 

So, reduce anxiety around cardiac surgery with yogic breathing.

 

There are many ways to combat anxiety, but perhaps none as quickly – and naturally – effective as certain forms of Pranayama. Pranayama is conscious breathwork and is often used in yoga, mindfulness practices and meditation.” – YogiApproved

 

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

 

Azeez, A. M., Puri, G. D., Samra, T., & Singh, M. (2021). Effect of Short-Term Yoga-Based-Breathing on Peri-Operative Anxiety in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery. International journal of yoga, 14(2), 163–167. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_120_20

 

Abstract

Background:

Peri-operative anxiety in patients scheduled for cardiac surgery is detrimental. This study evaluated the effect of short-term yoga based-breathing with different variations on peri-operative anxiety.

Materials and Methods:

A prospective randomized controlled study was conducted in patients aged 20–60 years scheduled for major cardiac surgery. Patients in Yoga group were trained for yoga based-breathing with different variations for 5 days; no intervention was done in controls.

Results:

We analyzed twenty patients in each group. Anxiety scores measured at baseline, presurgery, and postsurgery were entered as the within-subjects factor; group status was entered as the between-subjects factor in the RMANOVA. Baseline demographics and anxiety scores were comparable. The short-term yoga-based breathing exercise-training program had a statistically significant effect on state (F = 13.45, P < 0.0001), Trait (F = 13.29, P < 0.0001) and total anxiety scores (F = 29.44, P < 0.0001) at different time points for yoga over control group.

Conclusion:

Short-term yoga-based breathing for 5 days lowers presurgery and postsurgery anxiety in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191222/

 

Alter the Genes for Better Health with Meditation

Alter the Genes for Better Health with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“meditation practices seem . . . promote endocrinal, neuronal, and behavioral functions. This suggests that the achievement of a state of inner silence through the practice of meditation can prevent or reverse the detrimental effects of a stressful environment.“ – Sabrina Venditti

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented.

 

Meditation practice has been shown to improve health and longevity. One way it appears to act is by altering the genes which govern cellular processes in our bodies. The genes dictate all of the chemical processes in our bodies including immune and inflammatory responses. The ability of outside influences to affect gene expression is known as epigenetics. Hence, it is important to study the epigenetic alterations in gene expressions produced by meditation practice to determine if these effects are the intermediary between meditation and health.

 

In today’s Research News article “Transcriptomics of Long-Term Meditation Practice: Evidence for Prevention or Reversal of Stress Effects Harmful to Health.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001870/ ) Wenuganen and colleagues recruited older (> 60 years of age) healthy adult experienced practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and matched non-practitioners. Blood was drawn and analyzed for gene expression with microarrays and polymerase chain reaction.

 

They found that the genes of the Transcendental Meditation practitioners were in general significantly downregulated (lower expression) than the non-practitioners. “Sixty-two genes were related to hematologic diseases, 26 to coronary artery disease, 34 to diabetes complications, 49 to inflammation, and 64 to CVD. All these disease-related genes were downregulated in the TM group relative to the control group.” The genes found to have lower expression in the Transcendental Meditation practitioners were related to inflammatory responses and suppressed energy efficiency, while those upregulated (higher expression) were related to immune system function.

 

These epigenetic findings suggest that Transcendental Meditation practice over years of practice improve the immune system and energy efficiency while reducing inflammation in older individuals. These epigenetic changes suggest that Transcendental Meditation practice improves the physiology’s ability to maintain health by being better prepared to respond to disease and stress. This suggests a mechanism by which meditation practice improves health and longevity.

 

So, alter the genes for better health with meditation.

 

meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi . . . all seem to have a beneficial effect on the expression of a slew of different genes. And, as you might expect, the affected genes are generally those involved in stress and inflammation.” – Alice Walton

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are a

Alter the Genes for Better Health with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“meditation practices seem . . . promote endocrinal, neuronal, and behavioral functions. This suggests that the achievement of a state of inner silence through the practice of meditation can prevent or reverse the detrimental effects of a stressful environment.“ – Sabrina Venditti

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented.

 

Meditation practice has been shown to improve health and longevity. One way it appears to act is by altering the genes which govern cellular processes in our bodies. The genes dictate all of the chemical processes in our bodies including immune and inflammatory responses. The ability of outside influences to affect gene expression is known as epigenetics. Hence, it is important to study the epigenetic alterations in gene expressions produced by meditation practice to determine if these effects are the intermediary between meditation and health.

 

In today’s Research News article “Transcriptomics of Long-Term Meditation Practice: Evidence for Prevention or Reversal of Stress Effects Harmful to Health.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001870/ ) Wenuganen and colleagues recruited older (> 60 years of age) healthy adult experienced practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and matched non-practitioners. Blood was drawn and analyzed for gene expression with microarrays and polymerase chain reaction.

 

They found that the genes of the Transcendental Meditation practitioners were in general significantly downregulated (lower expression) than the non-practitioners. “Sixty-two genes were related to hematologic diseases, 26 to coronary artery disease, 34 to diabetes complications, 49 to inflammation, and 64 to CVD. All these disease-related genes were downregulated in the TM group relative to the control group.” The genes found to have lower expression in the Transcendental Meditation practitioners were related to inflammatory responses and suppressed energy efficiency, while those upregulated (higher expression) were related to immune system function.

 

These epigenetic findings suggest that Transcendental Meditation practice over years of practice improve the immune system and energy efficiency while reducing inflammation in older individuals. These epigenetic changes suggest that Transcendental Meditation practice improves the physiology’s ability to maintain health by being better prepared to respond to disease and stress. This suggests a mechanism by which meditation practice improves health and longevity.

 

So, alter the genes for better health with meditation.

 

meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi . . . all seem to have a beneficial effect on the expression of a slew of different genes. And, as you might expect, the affected genes are generally those involved in stress and inflammation.” – Alice Walton

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available at the Contemplative Studies Blog http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/

They are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wenuganen, S., Walton, K. G., Katta, S., Dalgard, C. L., Sukumar, G., Starr, J., Travis, F. T., Wallace, R. K., Morehead, P., Lonsdorf, N. K., Srivastava, M., & Fagan, J. (2021). Transcriptomics of Long-Term Meditation Practice: Evidence for Prevention or Reversal of Stress Effects Harmful to Health. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 57(3), 218. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57030218

 

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Stress can overload adaptive mechanisms, leading to epigenetic effects harmful to health. Research on the reversal of these effects is in its infancy. Early results suggest some meditation techniques have health benefits that grow with repeated practice. This study focused on possible transcriptomic effects of 38 years of twice-daily Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) practice. Materials and Methods: First, using Illumina® BeadChip microarray technology, differences in global gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were sought between healthy practitioners and tightly matched controls (n = 12, age 65). Second, these microarray results were verified on a subset of genes using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and were validated using qPCR in larger TM and control groups (n = 45, age 63). Bioinformatics investigation employed Ingenuity® Pathway Analysis (IPA®), DAVID, Genomatix, and R packages. Results: The 200 genes and loci found to meet strict criteria for differential expression in the microarray experiment showed contrasting patterns of expression that distinguished the two groups. Differential expression relating to immune function and energy efficiency were most apparent. In the TM group, relative to the control, all 49 genes associated with inflammation were downregulated, while genes associated with antiviral and antibody components of the defense response were upregulated. The largest expression differences were shown by six genes related to erythrocyte function that appeared to reflect a condition of lower energy efficiency in the control group. Results supporting these gene expression differences were obtained with qPCR-measured expression both in the well-matched microarray groups and in the larger, less well-matched groups. Conclusions: These findings are consistent with predictions based on results from earlier randomized trials of meditation and may provide evidence for stress-related molecular mechanisms underlying reductions in anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and other chronic disorders and diseases.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001870/

 

re also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wenuganen, S., Walton, K. G., Katta, S., Dalgard, C. L., Sukumar, G., Starr, J., Travis, F. T., Wallace, R. K., Morehead, P., Lonsdorf, N. K., Srivastava, M., & Fagan, J. (2021). Transcriptomics of Long-Term Meditation Practice: Evidence for Prevention or Reversal of Stress Effects Harmful to Health. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 57(3), 218. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57030218

 

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Stress can overload adaptive mechanisms, leading to epigenetic effects harmful to health. Research on the reversal of these effects is in its infancy. Early results suggest some meditation techniques have health benefits that grow with repeated practice. This study focused on possible transcriptomic effects of 38 years of twice-daily Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) practice. Materials and Methods: First, using Illumina® BeadChip microarray technology, differences in global gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were sought between healthy practitioners and tightly matched controls (n = 12, age 65). Second, these microarray results were verified on a subset of genes using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and were validated using qPCR in larger TM and control groups (n = 45, age 63). Bioinformatics investigation employed Ingenuity® Pathway Analysis (IPA®), DAVID, Genomatix, and R packages. Results: The 200 genes and loci found to meet strict criteria for differential expression in the microarray experiment showed contrasting patterns of expression that distinguished the two groups. Differential expression relating to immune function and energy efficiency were most apparent. In the TM group, relative to the control, all 49 genes associated with inflammation were downregulated, while genes associated with antiviral and antibody components of the defense response were upregulated. The largest expression differences were shown by six genes related to erythrocyte function that appeared to reflect a condition of lower energy efficiency in the control group. Results supporting these gene expression differences were obtained with qPCR-measured expression both in the well-matched microarray groups and in the larger, less well-matched groups. Conclusions: These findings are consistent with predictions based on results from earlier randomized trials of meditation and may provide evidence for stress-related molecular mechanisms underlying reductions in anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and other chronic disorders and diseases.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001870/

 

Mindfulness-Based Therapies Effectively Treat Cardiovascular Disease

Mindfulness-Based Therapies Effectively Treat Cardiovascular Disease

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

What’s good for the mind also tends to be good for the heart. The mind-calming practice of meditation may play a role in reducing your risk of heart disease.” – Harvard Health

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. A myriad of treatments has been developed 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. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiovascular disease patients decline engaging in these lifestyle changes, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to be safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease. Practices such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have been shown to be helpful for heart health and to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. They have also been shown to be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health and the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Physical and Psychological Wellbeing in Cardiovascular Diseases: 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/PMC8227381/ ) Marino and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. They identified 17 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that mindfulness-based therapies produced significant decreases in systolic blood pressure, heart palpitations, heart rate, depression, and perceived stress, and significant increases in the quality of life of patients with cardiovascular disease. Hence, mindfulness-based therapies are effective in improving the physiological and psychological state of patients with cardiovascular disease and should be recommended for the treatment of these patients.

 

So, mindfulness-based therapies effectively treat cardiovascular disease.

 

people who meditated had lower rates of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and coronary artery disease.” – Science Daily

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Marino, F., Failla, C., Carrozza, C., Ciminata, M., Chilà, P., Minutoli, R., Genovese, S., Puglisi, A., Arnao, A. A., Tartarisco, G., Corpina, F., Gangemi, S., Ruta, L., Cerasa, A., Vagni, D., & Pioggia, G. (2021). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Physical and Psychological Wellbeing in Cardiovascular Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Brain sciences, 11(6), 727. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11060727

 

Abstract

Background: Recently, there has been an increased interest in the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) for people with cardiovascular diseases (CVD), although the exact beneficial effects remain unclear. Methods: This review aims to establish the role of MBI in the management of wellbeing for patients with CVD. Seventeen articles have been included in this systematic synthesis of the literature and eleven in the meta-analysis. Results: Considering physical (i.e., heart rate, blood pressure) and psychological outcomes (i.e., depression, anxiety, stress, styles of coping), the vast majority of studies confirmed that MBI has a positive influence on coping with psychological risk factors, also improving physiological fitness. Random-effects meta-analysis models suggested a moderate-to-large effect size in reducing anxiety, depression, stress, and systolic blood pressure. Conclusions: Although a high heterogeneity was observed in the methodological approaches, scientific literature confirmed that MBI can now be translated into a first-line intervention tool for improving physical and psychological wellbeing in CVD patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8227381/

 

Improve the Mental, Physical, and Emotional Well-Being of Older Adults During Covid-19 Pandemic with Tai Chi

Improve the Mental, Physical, and Emotional Well-Being of Older Adults During Covid-19 Pandemic with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai Chi Chuan has a potential effect on the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of COVID-19. Its potential mechanisms include reducing anxiety, relieving depression and stress, enhancing pulmonary and cardiovascular function, enhancing immunity and improving quality of life.” – Chen Xianjian

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress on everyone but particularly the elderly isolating at home. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, mindfulness training may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Tai Chi and Qigong are both mindfulness practices and gentle exercises. They have been shown to be beneficial for the health and well-being of individuals of a variety of ages, but particularly the elderly. So, it would seem reasonable to examine the ability of Tai Chi practice to improve the well-being of older adults during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai chi improves psychoemotional state, cognition, and motor learning in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8054611/ ) Solianik and colleagues recruited healthy sedentary older adults (over 60 years of age) during the Covid-19 pandemic and randomly assigned them to 10 weeks of twice a week for 60 minute Tai Chi practice or to a no treatment control condition. They were measured before and after training for heart rate, perceived stress, anxiety, depression cognitive performance, and motor performance. In addition, blood was drawn and assayed for brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, the older adults who practiced Tai Chi had significantly higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, high frequency power in the heart rate, visuospatial performance, response inhibition, and shifting mental set, and significantly lower reaction times, heart rate, perceived stress, and depression.

 

The results must be interpreted with the understanding that the control condition was no treatment in a sedentary group of older adults. So, it cannot be determined if the effects were due to Tai Chi itself or exercise in general. Nevertheless, Tai Chi practice resulted in significant improvements in cardiovascular fitness, brain development, cognitive performance, and psychological health.

 

Tai Chi practice is not strenuous, involves slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate the elderly. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This suggests that during stressful times Tai Chi should be recommended for older adults for their mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

 

So, improve the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of older adults during Covid-19 pandemic with Tai Chi.

 

Older people should exercise for the entire duration of self-isolation. One large systematic review of falls prevention exercises emphasised the importance of maintaining exercise over time – benefits from Tai Chi were found after 20 weeks.” –  Jamie Hartmann-Boyce

 

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

 

Solianik, R., Mickevičienė, D., Žlibinaitė, L., & Čekanauskaitė, A. (2021). Tai chi improves psychoemotional state, cognition, and motor learning in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experimental gerontology, 150, 111363. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2021.111363

 

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a 10-week tai chi intervention on psychoemotional state, cognition, and motor learning in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants aged 60–78 years were randomized to either a control group (n = 15) or a tai chi group (n = 15) for a 10-week period. The tai chi group received two, 8-form tai chi classes of 60 min duration per week. Changes in psychoemotional state, cognition, and the learning of fast and accurate reaching movements were assessed. In addition, the potential roles of the autonomic nervous system and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were investigated. Tai chi practice decreased (P < 0.05) perceived stress, whereas no change in autonomic nervous system activity was observed. Improvements in mental switching correlated with decreased depressive symptoms and increased BDNF levels (P < 0.05), whereas improvements in inhibitory control tended to correlate with BDNF levels (P = 0.08). Improvements in visuospatial processing tended to correlate with decreased depressive symptoms (P = 0.07) while improved visuospatial processing correlated with improved motor planning during learning tasks (P < 0.05). This study suggests that tai chi is an effective intervention that can be delivered under pandemic conditions to improve mental and physical function in older adults.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8054611/