Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yoga and Chronic Pain

Meditation isn’t the only mind-body way to reduce chronic pain. Yoga may help you cope too.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, you might think that relief is out of reach. But research suggests that people with conditions like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis can alleviate pain and the emotional distress it causes by hitting the yoga mat.

According to the researchers, gentle forms of yoga promote deep relaxation by pacifying the sympathetic nervous system, which, in turn, lowers the heart rate and promotes slow breathing. This part of the nervous system is also linked to the fight-or-flight stress response; when it’s overstimulated, it pumps out adrenaline and can lead to increased sweating, heart rate and blood pressure.
Over the course of eight weeks, not only did participants feel better psychologically, they also reported major reductions in pain. If you’re interested in giving yoga a try, choose a gentle type like Hatha and look for a class that caters to people with injuries or chronic conditions.

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