Friday December 14, 2018

Yoga May Reduce Symptoms of Menstrual Disorders

All included studies reported some change in their outcome measures, suggesting reduced symptoms of menstrual distress following a yoga intervention

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A range of yoga interventions were used. Some studies used a combination of Asana, Pranayama, and other yogic relaxation or meditation techniques. Pixabay
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Practicing yoga may enhance mood and reduce pain in women affected by menstrual distress associated with physical and psychological symptoms, says a study.

For the study, the researchers carried out a systematic review of the published literature on yoga practice and common menstrual disorders.

Enhanced mood, reduced pain, increased wellbeing, and a heightened relaxation response were among the improved outcomes reported by women who participated in a yoga intervention, according to the findings published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

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Representational image. Pixabay

Jennifer Oates of King’s College London assessed the evidence from 15 published studies on the effects of yoga practice on problems such as amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

A range of yoga interventions were used. Some studies used a combination of Asana, Pranayama, and other yogic relaxation or meditation techniques.

Also Read: Yoga a Boon for Breast Cancer Survivors

All of the studies evaluated reported a beneficial effect and reduced symptoms.

“All included studies reported some change in their outcome measures, suggesting reduced symptoms of menstrual distress following a yoga intervention,” the study said. (Bollywood Country)

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New Study Shows Link Between Meditation And Greater Focus

Supplementation, a healthy diet, and daily exercise are key, with recent studies showing that aerobic exercise also increases brain size.

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Pranayamic breathing is just one way to improve brain health.

Pranayamic breathing – an important part of yoga and meditation – has a unique ability to strengthen our focus and a new study by Trinity College Dublin has unlocked its secret. The researchers note that pranayamic breathing affects the levels of a natural chemical in the brain called noradrenaline. The latter is released when we are challenged, curious, focused, or emotionally excited. When present at the right levels, noradrenaline helps the brain grow new connections and helps us concentrate better on important tasks.

The old masters were on the right track

The researchers noted: “Practitioners of yoga have claimed for some 2,500 years, that respiration influences the mind. We looked for a neurophysiological link that could help explain these claims.” The researchers did so by measuring breathing, reaction time, and brain activity in a small area in the brainstem called the locus coeruleus, where noradrenaline is made. Noradrenaline is affected by stress; when we are worried or anxious we produce too much, and cannot concentrate. When we feel lazy, on the other hand, we produce too little and once again, focus is lost. One way to boost levels is through yoga; another method which can complement the latter is the consumption of medical grade focus supplements, which contain compounds such as octopamine (which has a similar effect to noradrenaline).

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Conversely, those with lower mindfulness ratings had greater activation of this part of the brain and also felt more pain. Pixabay

Pranayamic breathing aces the right balance

In the above study, researchers noted that brain activity in the part of the brain where noradrenaline is produced raises slightly when we inhale and drops slightly as we exhale. Thus, balance is achieved and we can focus on what we have set out to do. Pranayama not only boosts concentration but also produces “changes in arousal, attention, and emotional control that can be of great benefit to the meditator.”

What is Pranayamic breathing?

Pranayamic breathing involves controlling and extending breath, with a view to manipulating your vital energy, battling stress, and improving your mood. It is often used in meditation and yoga and interestingly, many yoga experts rank pranayama as even more important than asanas (the postures performed in a yoga session). In yogic tradition, breath is said to carry a person’s life force. Interestingly, scientific studies back this assertion to the extent that pranayamic breathing is able to boost brain function and change the actual structure of the brain. In recent studies, pranayamic breathing has been found to lower or stabilize blood pressure, lower stress, and reduce anxiety and depression.

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In order to comprehend better the Indian seers constructed the special “BOAT” – named Yoga/Meditation.

Implications of the study for aging

The researchers are excited that their findings could signal a way to prevent brain aging. They stated that if brains typically lose mass as we age, practices such as pranayamic breathing greatly reduce the rate of brain shrinkage, thus potentially helping keep dementia and related diseases at bay. Because keeping noradrenaline levels at an optimal level can help the brain grow new connections, meditation is an ideal activity to pursue.

Pranayamic breathing is just one way to improve brain health. Supplementation, a healthy diet, and daily exercise are key, with recent studies showing that aerobic exercise also increases brain size. To make the most of the effect of breathing on focus, consider joining a yoga class or learning the essence of pranayamic breathing online or through an app like Prana Breath or Universal Breathing.