Top Tip for Stress Reduction: Sit Down, Breathe and Think of Nothing

Picture yourself sitting cross legged on the floor, breathing rhythmically and thinking of absolutely nothing. This is you reducing stress and assisting your body in reducing inflammation. In the January issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity [1], there is an article that outlines a study that was done comparing the stress reducing effects of an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) and an 8-week active control health enhancement program (HEP) that included walking, balance, agility, core strength, nutritional education, and music therapy.

Although the study may have only included 49 members and a non-treatment control group was not used, the results of the comparison were enlightening and unexpected by the researchers. It appears that mindfulness meditation practices are as effective at stress reduction as the health enhancement program listed above but also showed that meditation practice may be better at recovering from stress situations and actually reduces the inflammatory response associated with stress. For people that are physically unable to implement health enhancement activities, mindfulness meditation is an excellent alternative. For everyone else it should be a complement to a healthy lifestyle and both of these practices should be a part of our daily routine.

Mindfulness meditation does not require a gym membership, special equipment and does not have to take a long time. You can do it anywhere and at almost any time during your day. In all the treatments that I offer at Yinstill Reproductive Wellness clinic I give people the option of combining a guided meditation to their acupuncture experience. In fact, the effects of the acupuncture session can be sustained for several days with daily mindfulness meditation practice. So if you want to get the most out of your acupuncture sessions and lead a stress reduced life start meditating today.

Article: Science Direct

Study Findings:
Results show those randomized to MBSR and HEP training had comparable post-training stress-evoked cortisol responses, as well as equivalent reductions in self-reported psychological distress and physical symptoms. However, MBSR training resulted in a significantly smaller post-stress inflammatory response compared to HEP, despite equivalent levels of stress hormones. These results suggest behavioral interventions designed to reduce emotional reactivity may be of therapeutic benefit in chronic inflammatory conditions. Moreover, mindfulness practice, in particular, may be more efficacious in symptom relief than the well-being promoting activities cultivated in the HEP program.[1]

1. Melissa A. Rosenkranz, Richard J. Davidson, Donal G. MacCoon, John F. Sheridan, Ned H. Kalin, Antoine Lutz, A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Volume 27, January 2013, Pages 174-184, ISSN 0889-1591, 10.1016/j.bbi.2012.10.013.

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