Happy Friday!! I am so excited it is Friday. Michael and I have some fun things planned this weekend, like my surprise Christmas Gift! I was told I need to dress up and am currently debating on which little black dress and heels to wear! I also have a Jingle Bell run for Team in Training Saturday morning, yoga Sunday morning and hopefully some afternoons on the couch and napping. Tonight we are lying low, making my favorite Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup and watching a movie. I’ve been exhausted this week. I am not sure why but realize I need to have some down time this weekend. I even skipped studying this morning to get some extra rest! What’s everyone up to this weekend?
Michael sent me a link to this article a few weeks back and I’ve been thinking about it and want to share. The article, “Stretching the Boundaries of Yoga” was on Boston.com. It is about a study being done at Boston Medical Center. Most of us know by now that yoga can really help mitigate lower back pain. There have been tons of studies about this and it had been proven that yoga does help to strengthen the low back and relieve low back pain. It should be noted that those studies are usually done with affluent, educated, white populations. I wrote a post about one study a while back, Can Yoga Relieve Low Back Pain? Boston Medical Center is taking a new approach on this…
In the lobby at Boston Medical Center, they hold a yoga class for the staff and patients aimed at relieving low back pain and strengthening the low back. The class is being used in a study to examine the use of yoga in low-income neighborhoods.
Here are some facts from the article:
A survey of 5,050 people who practice yoga, conducted for Yoga Journal in 2008, found that 44 percent – almost half – reported annual incomes of $75,000 or more, and 24 percent said their income was higher than $100,000. Chronic low-back pain annually affects between 5 and 10 percent of all income levels of the population; low-back pain accounts for $50 billion in direct medical expenditures and is the most common cause of workers’ compensation, according to national health studies.
In these low-income areas people are fighting low-back pain in addition to other diseases such as diabetes, obesity, depression, and anxiety to name a few. The article indicates that because of yoga’s mind and body connection it may be helpful for these people to relieve back pain but could also help with depression, anxiety, and other diseases as well.
The participants of the study have indicated positive effects. One study participant takes the class twice a week and practices daily at home for 20 minutes. She says,
“These poses put everything back in place,’’ she says. “It’s a balance issue. If I stop doing it, I have a lot of pain when I walk – and I walk everywhere.’’
The study was so effective they received funds for two more studies and have high hopes for the future.
Overall, results were encouraging, and Boston Medical researchers received a $2.7 million grant to conduct two additional studies. The first, which is currently ongoing, enrolled 96 participants in a four-month “yoga dosing’’ study that will compare once-a-week yoga classes to twice-weekly classes to find the optimum effectiveness. The classes are held at Boston Medical Center and community health centers in Dorchester, Mattapan, Roslindale, and South Boston.
A third yearlong study begins in 2012 and will recruit 320 participants to take yoga classes for 12 weeks that will be followed by a maintenance program for half the participants. This study will compare yoga treatment to physical therapy, as well as to a control group.
“We hypothesize that yoga classes will be as effective as physical therapy, but more cost effective,’’ Saper says, adding that if research results bear this out, private, state, and federal health insurance programs might consider reimbursing yoga as a less expensive treatment.
In regards to the effects of yoga on depression and anxiety. Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital did a study on this. They used MRI’s to scan patients before and after yoga class and looked for a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric. This neurotransmitter is low in people with anxiety and depression. According to the article, they saw a 27% increase in gamma-aminobutyric after participants did a yoga session.
They did a follow-up study to this and had participants walk on a treadmill for one-hour or take yoga classes for one-hour over a period of 12-weeks. The study found that the yoga participants had a greater increase in mood and decrease in anxiety than those who walked on the treadmill.
They do realize that yoga may not be for everyone but the effects of yoga are certainly becoming more well-known. I encourage you to all read the article in full at Boston.com. I think this study shows a lot of positive effects of yoga. It can help relieve back pain, which can reduce people’s dependence on medications and reduce medical costs. It could be a remedy for depression and anxiety and provide a treatment option that is not dependent on medications. Again this could also help reduce medical costs. And ultimately I think this study shows that whether you are poor, or affluent or live in a nice neighborhood or a not so nice neighborhood yoga can help us all and be an outlet to connect everyone.