If you don’t suffer with fibromyalgia, you probably know someone who does. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include chronic pain and fatigue, muscle stiffness, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal pain, and anxiety and depression.
I recommend yoga or tai chi for reducing stress in the brain and the body, and now a new study reveals that practicing yoga reduces the physical and psychological symptoms of chronic pain in women with fibromyalgia.
Women with fibromyalgia have lower than normal cortisol levels and this contributes to pain, tiredness and feelings of stress. However after two weekly sessions of hatha yoga, over eight weeks time, participants in a study at York University saw their cortisol levels come up.
Due to the rise in this hormone to more normal levels,participants reported significant reductions in pain and associated symptoms, as well as psychological benefits. They felt less helpless, were more accepting of their condition, and were less likely to “catastrophize” over current or future symptoms.
“We saw their levels of mindfulness increase — they were better able to detach from their psychological experience of pain,” Curtis says. Mindfulness is a form of active mental awareness that is achieved by paying total attention to the present moment, which lessens the stress of thinking about the past and future which are usually cause more stressful brain states. Mindfulness is a useful technique in pain management.
You can find out how exercise benefits your brain and your body, along with mental relaxation exercises at our 24-7 Brain Gym at www.theamenclinic.com
Resource: York University (2011, July 27). Yoga boosts stress-busting hormone, reduces pain, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2011/07/110727131421.htm