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Feeling Low? Practicing Ancient Chinese Martial Art Tai Chi will reduce Depression

Tai Chi, which has been used for more than 1,000 years, combines deep breathing and slow and gentle movements

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New York, May 28, 2017: Practicing Tai Chi — a form of ancient Chinese martial art — for 12-weeks may significantly reduce symptoms of depression such as the persistent feeling of sadness or loss, a study showed.

Tai Chi, which has been used for more than 1,000 years, combines deep breathing and slow and gentle movements.

It is generally suitable for people of any level of physical fitness.

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“While some previous studies have suggested that tai chi may be useful in treating anxiety and depression, most have used it as a supplement to treatment for others medical conditions, rather than patients with depression,” said Albert Yeung from Massachusetts General Hospital.

Tai Chi can be particularly effective for patients who avoid conventional psychiatric treatment, the researchers said.

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the team recruited 50 participants through advertisements offering tai chi for stress reduction.

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Of these 17 were in the tai chi group, 14 in the education group that included discussions on stress, mental health and depression and 19 in the a passive control, wait-list group.

The 12-week assessments showed that the tai chi group had significantly greater improvement in depression symptoms than did members of either control group.

Earlier this year, China nominated Tai Chi, for inclusion in the Unesco List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Previous studies have found that Tai Chi could better help patients suffering from five painful conditions — back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and severe headaches and migraine. (IANS)

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Sleep problems in menopause linked to hot flashes, depression

The women provided annual surveys and blood samples so that the researchers could track sleep disruptions, other menopausal symptoms and hormone levels

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To track poor sleep, the surveys asked questions about the frequency of insomnia, restless sleep and sleep disturbances.
To track poor sleep, the surveys asked questions about the frequency of insomnia, restless sleep and sleep disturbances. Wikimedia Commons

A study of middle-aged women by the University of Illinois (UI) found that sleep problems vary across the stages of menopause, yet are consistently correlated with hot flashes and depression.

The UI researchers used data from the Midlife Women’s Health Study, which followed 776 women aged 45-54 in the greater Baltimore area for up to seven years.

The women provided annual surveys and blood samples so that the researchers could track sleep disruptions, other menopausal symptoms and hormone levels as women transitioned from pre- to post-menopause, Xinhua reported.

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To track poor sleep, the surveys asked questions about the frequency of insomnia, restless sleep and sleep disturbances.

The study found no correlation between the likelihood of reporting poor sleep before menopause, during menopause and after menopause.

Depression and hot flashes are two risk factors vary in reported frequency across menopausal stages.
Depression and hot flashes are two risk factors vary in reported frequency across menopausal stages. Wikimedia Commons

This means that for many women in the study, their reported sleep problems changed as they transitioned to different stages of menopause. In other words, women who had insomnia during menopause were not more likely to have insomnia after menopause.

In analyzing the surveys for any other symptoms or factors that might be associated with poor sleep, the researchers found that hot flashes and depression were strongly correlated with poor sleep across all stages of menopause.

Those two risk factors vary in reported frequency across menopausal stages, which might help explain why poor sleep also varies across the stages, the researchers said.

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The findings suggest that addressing those risk factors may also address sleep disruptions, as well as give women hope that their sleep symptoms may not last past the menopausal transition, said Rebecca Smith, a UI professor of pathobiology.

Smith conducted the study with Jodi Flaws and Megan Mahoney, professors of comparative biosciences at Illinois.

The study has been published in the journal Sleep Medicine. (IANS)

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