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Yoga and Meditation Enhance Medical Treatments

Updated on May 13, 2021
LilianeNajm profile image

Yoga Wellness Educator. Certified to teach Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Pilates, Reiki. Yoga Therapy Foundations program. I love to write.

Source

C. Hannah published the “Can Yoga and Meditation Help with Coronavirus Treatment” article in The Science Times. He cited a recent study published on June 22, 2020, in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine[i] that describes “the anti-inflammatory effects of yoga and meditation”.

This study focused primarily “on certain complementary practices of seated meditation, yoga asanas (postures), and pranayama (breathing) with relevance to immune function for consideration for SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 treatment and/or prevention”.

Yoga Counteracts Inflammation

Stress, especially during the current disruptive global health crisis, leads to inflammation by increasing adrenaline levels and decreasing cortisol levels. We could say that the global immune system is being weakened by anxiety issues, physical and mental anguish, and financial challenges.

Many symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease include inflammation such as “blood clotting, swelling organs, and joint aches”. The authors of this study say, "there is evidence of stress and inflammation, and initial signs for possible forms of immune system improvement, through the practice of some forms of meditation, yoga, and pranayama, along with potential inferences for countering some forms of infectious issues”. They also said, “yoga and meditation as adjunctive therapy are meant to reduce the severity of coronavirus such as helping the immune system and improving lung health”.

Yoga is a remarkable method to help fight stress and encourage healthy physical and mental habits. When we reduce our stress levels, we help reduce the likelihood of inflammation and we lessen pain.

In January 2014, the OHIO State University led a research study on how Yoga Can Lower Fatigue, Inflammation in Breast Cancer Survivors. They found that practicing yoga for even three months can reduce fatigue and lower inflammation. The study found that even a modest yoga practice over a period of several months could have meaningful benefits.

Benefits

When we practice yoga and meditation in a regular manner, we work to help our immune system and improve the health of our lungs. We replace the fight or flight response triggered by stress and anxiety with a relaxed response to life.

Yoga and meditation can:

  • Decrease stress
  • Relieve anxiety
  • May reduce inflammation
  • Could improve heart health
  • Improve the quality of life
  • May fight depression
  • Could reduce chronic pain
  • Could promote sleep quality
  • Improve flexibility and balance
  • Could help improve breathing
  • May relieve migraines, and
  • Can boost strength.

Psycho-Emotional Body and Mental Body

From an Ayurvedic perspective, Manomaya Kosha, or the mind, is the psycho-emotional body and mental body. This level is about the vital drives and the emotional responses associated with them such as the fight or flight response, survival and reproduction, and social roles and personality. Obstruction in this body manifests first as stress then as a physical or mental disorder. Hatha Yoga postures are a main vehicle for relieving stress and promoting relaxation.

Therapeutic Yoga

This is where the influence of therapeutic yoga or yoga therapy is most evident. After an initial assessment, the individual receives a personalized sequence of yoga poses, breathing recommendation, and meditation. Yoga sequences are customized to the needs of individuals to help them optimize the physical, emotional, and mental functioning of their bodies.

Mindfulness Meditation

In addition to medications and self-care prevention, mindfulness meditation is effective in lessening pain, reducing anxiety and depression, and improving the quality of life. Meditation is an effective therapy that is simple, inexpensive, and can be used at any time.

Several studies communicated that a regular practice of yoga brings down the levels of stress hormones that promote inflammation. It lowers the levels of proinflammatory molecules in the body and brings down inflammation, which is advantageous in conditions like arthritis. It helps to relieve severe pain seen in diseases like fibromyalgia; and puts a break on inflammation.

Feelings of Gratitude

D. Chopra emphasizes the importance of being grateful in whatever situation we find ourselves in.

Gratitude feelings are powerful and support healing. Studies show that gratitude has profound and lasting consequences on our body. Feelings of gratitude have a positive effect on our health.

As per common good sense:

  • Enjoy it here and now.
  • Celebrate the moments of life.
  • Be happy. You are the key to a warm heart, and you will be healthier and happier.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Have a group of supportive people around you because our happiness is rooted in our relationships.

Cautions for All Poses

  • Avoid what causes or increases pain
  • Stop doing a pose if you feel a sharp sensation in your joints
  • Stop doing a pose if you feel a sharp, shooting sensation down the limbs
  • Avoid what causes numbness in the limbs
  • Avoid what makes you painful when you feel you cannot breathe well
  • Just because we all have differently shaped bones and bodies, not all postures will look the same for everybody. Some postures may or may not be accessible without modifications.
  • Stop doing a pose when you feel dizzy
  • Follow your doctor's orders. After surgery, ask your doctor what you can do and when.

Summary

Yoga complement Western medical treatments for many diseases that include:

  • Flu and other common infections.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
  • Conditions that can affect your immune system indirectly, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer recovery, and many others.

Reference

[i]Meditation and Yoga Practices as Potential Adjunctive Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 Infection and COVID-19: A Brief Overview of Key Subjects. William Bushell, Ryan Castle, Michelle A. Williams, Kimberly C. Brouwer, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Deepak Chopra, and Paul J. Mills.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

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    • LilianeNajm profile imageAUTHOR

      Liliane Najm 

      12 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank you Anupam. I intend to.

    • Anupam Mitu profile image

      Anupam Mitu 

      12 months ago from MUMBAI

      A great work on Yoga. Keep it up dear. It'll help many.

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