Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Positive Effects of Meditation and Yoga in the Healthcare System

 

Positive effects of meditation and yoga shown throughout healthcare system

 

While the Western world took a considerable amount of time to discover yoga and meditation compared to the ancient Eastern world, its positive effects are beginning to show throughout the modern day healthcare system. In a recent study carried out by Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)’s Institute for Technology Assessment and the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI),meditation it was found that meditation and yoga has helped to reduce healthcare costs by as much as 43%. In the study, patients participated in a relaxation training program which significantly lowered stress-levels and anxiety while lowering blood pressure, heart rate and decreasing muscle tension. The patients were found to use much fewer health care services in the year following their participation in the relaxation program. Utilising both the data from the Harvard Relaxation Program and also data obtained from the Research Patient Data Registry (RPDR) of Partners HealthCare from between 2006 and 2014 shows a reduction in the need for additional healthcare services.

 

Considering anxiety and depression rate as the third biggest expenditure in American healthcare services, adopting almost cost-free services such as yoga and meditation could see huge pressure lifted off the health care system. This could include greater availability of services and more prompt delivery of those services and also see more funding available for research on other non stress-related diseases that require more attention. Prescribing medication such as anti-depressants only fixes the problem short term. Focusing on more long-term alternatives such as regular yoga or meditation should be the key to effectively helping a patient reach optimal vitality and assist in the recovery and treatment of disease. Unfortunately modern Western medicine is not yet focused on this and still relies almost solely on medication.

 

The link between body and mind

 

Going back to the Eastern World, many practitioners believe there is a very strong link between body and mind and the prevalence of many diseases. This belief has only in recent times spread into the Western World where before they have long believed that the mind is not interconnected to the body. In our modern day, fast paced lifestyles it becomes quite easy to forget about the importance of slowing down and taking time out for ourselves. Every day we find so many places we need to be, people we need to see, jobs we need to do and children we need to take care of. Couple this with emotional, financial and physical stress, it’s no wonder we have a hard time actually paying attention to what ourfresh air body is trying to tell us. It goes even deeper, in that we are also seeing a link between the mind and the immune system and our emotions and their effect on our body. These incredible findings have been made much more easier to prove thanks to development in technology, in particular in neuroimaging which measures specific brain function and molecular biology which reads various biological interactions between cells.

 

When you are stressed your body releases hormones that have a big impact on how your nervous system and internal organs function. Cortisol is the main hormone that affects your body’s function when placed under stress. It has been found to impair memory and function, increase weight and bring about multiple cardiovascular diseases. Your digestive system can also be directly affected by stress and it has been shown that nutrients are not as effectively absorbed when stressed. Irritable bowel syndrome and food allergies are also closely linked to stress. The brain communicates to your stomach via the vagus nerve.

 

When placed under continual stress your immune system begins to suffer which leaves you wide open to many illnesses. The body is unable to fight effectively against harmful bacteria and infections, resulting in inflammation which can occur at many levels. For this reason it is believed that many autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and osteoarthritis form in the body as a result of stress.

 

Adapting yoga and meditation into your schedule

 

Attending a yoga or meditation class even once a week can have a big impact on your overall health and wellness. A guided class will allow you to dedicate at least an hour to your practice without distraction. If you are unable to find the time to attend a class, there are many guided meditation and yoga sequences available on the internet. Finding a quiet place in the house and spending ten minutes a day at a scheduled time will help you develop the important habit of taking time out for yourself. You can then extend your practice to a longer period of time as the weeks go on.

 

The simple act of focusing on your breath will do wonders at reducing your stress levels and calming your mind. When you have a relaxed stress response system you will notice deeper breathing, a lowered heart rate and a positive change in your overall mood.

 

Hopefully in the future we will see the prevalence of many more yoga and meditation programs offered in place of prescription medication to treat a variety of mental illness and mind-body related disease.

 

Please share with family and loved ones.  Call us with your questions, healthcare concerns, and let us develop a personalized healthcare plan for you.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Lifestyle

Should You Meditate to Loose Weight

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Using Meditation

for Weight Loss

 

Most dieters are

willing to try just about anything to make the weight loss process easier. Most

of us would also like to lose weight faster and more cheaply, as well.  That’s why meditation for weight loss is such

a great idea. If you haven’t considered it, maybe you should. Meditation for

weight loss can be a healthy and effective way to eat better and lose weight.

 

What is Meditation?

First, let’s be clear about what meditation is.

If you don’t currently practice meditation, you might imagine

that the process involves sitting in an uncomfortable position for extended

periods of time, breathing deeply and thinking about nothing. That’s not really

what meditation is all about.

Meditation is simply the act of focusing your attention in order to become

more mindful.

The

American Meditation Society explains that “during meditation

the attention flows inward instead of engaging in the outside world of

activity.”  According to the organization, a meditation practice can

awaken positive qualities in you.

Meditation for Weight Loss

Scientists have studied the effects of meditation on our bodies and have

found that the practice can help us to relax, sleep better and improve our

health. But they are also beginning to explore the ways in which meditation can

help us lose weight.

In a one recent research review scientists

evaluated the role the way in which meditation can affect weight loss and

certain behaviors that are often linked to poor eating.

They found that mindful meditation can help to decrease the

frequency of emotional eating and binge eating.

Of course, researchers can’t say that meditation alone will make you lose

weight. But since the practice of meditation is free, carries no side effects

and

provides

other health benefits, why not use it to help you curb emotionaleating and create more mindful food habits?

How Should I Meditate to Lose Weight?

If you’d like to give meditation a try, the first step is to choose a

practice. There are several meditation styles but they all follow the same

basic technique of quieting the mind and taking time to breathe and become more

aware of your body in the present moment.  You can

try different

methods to see which one works best for you.

To refine your practice you’ll find plenty of free resources on the web,

like the

Free Guided Meditations from the

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.  Or if you prefer apersonal approach, you can

find a

teacher in your area through the American Meditation Society.

Remember that no weight loss meditation practice can help you lose weight

without changes to your diet and activity plan. But a program of mindful

awareness is likely to make the process easier and may help you to keep the

weight off for good.

Health and Wellness Associates

312-972-WELL

Lifestyle

Meditation is as effective as antidepressant drugs

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Meditation is just as effective as antidepressant drugs in treating anxiety or depression, but without the side effects, according to a study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The study was funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The researchers analyzed the results of 47 prior randomized, controlled trials conducted on a total of 3,515 people suffering from depression, anxiety, insomnia, heart disease, chronic pain, stress and other health conditions. In all the trials analyzed, mindfulness meditation had been compared to a placebo or to other treatments. Mindfulness meditation consists of the regular practice, often 30 to 40 minutes per day, of a person remaining aware of their surroundings (such as sounds), thoughts and emotions, without forming attachment to their outcomes. This is in contrast with concentration practices, in which a person focuses on a single thought or activity (such as chanting or looking at a candle) to the exclusion of all other thoughts. “Many people have the idea that meditation means just sitting quietly and doing nothing,” researcher Madhav Goyal said. “That is not true. It is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.” According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 9 percent of U.S. residents meditated at least once in 2007, while about 1 percent said that they used meditation as a medical treatment.

Effect similar to drugs

The researchers found that people who underwent a roughly eight-week mindfulness training practice experienced a 5 to 10 percent reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to placebo groups, and a 10 to 20 percent reduction in depression symptoms. The research also suggested that meditation led to significant reductions in pain, although these findings were not conclusive. “This is similar to the effects that other studies have found for the use of antidepressants in similar populations,” Goyal said. Little or no effect was found in the other areas of chronic health studied, such as attention, sleep, weight or substance abuse. “Our review suggests that there is moderate evidence for a small but consistent benefit for anxiety, depression and chronic pain,” Goyal said. “There is no known major harm from meditating, and meditation doesn’t come with any known side effects. One can also practice meditation along with other treatments one is already receiving.”

Meditation for its own sake

The findings suggest that mindfulness meditation may be useful as a substitute or complement to drugs for many chronic conditions, Allan Goroll of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital wrote in an accompanying editorial. “The findings of such research should be the subject of conversations that need to begin in every examination room and extend to engage the media, who play a key role in determining patient attitudes toward health care and the demand for services,” Goroll wrote. Goyal also called for health providers to educate patients about the benefits of meditation. “Clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that meditation programs could have in addressing psychological stress, particularly when symptoms are mild,” he said. Meditation is not a cure-all, Goyal warned, but it can still provide significant benefits, even above and beyond the treatment of chronic conditions. “We should keep foremost in our mind that meditation was never conceived of as a treatment for any health problem,” Goyal said. “Rather, it is a path one travels on to increase our awareness and gain insight into our lives. The best reason to meditate is to increase insight into one’s life which is probably good for everyone.” Sources for this article include: http://www.bloomberg.com http://science.naturalnews.com Health and Wellness Associates

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