Meditation helps us ground, and it also reduces stress and boosts immunity. Meditation has been gradually moving into the mainstream, as a result of its association with yoga and its growing acceptance by celebrities and corporate leaders. The practice of meditation involves quieting the mind and focusing on the breath for the purposes of contemplation and reflection. The resulting state of deep relaxation has been shown to temper the body’s pain and stress responses, and scientific studies confirm its potential to improve health and prevent and manage disease.
In the scientific realm, meditation is now considered a “growing sub-field of neuro-biological research. John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, is leading a five-year study on how the ancient practices affect genes and brain activity in the chronically stressed. His latest work follows a study he and others published earlier this year showing how so-called mind-body techniques can switch on and off some genes linked to stress and immune function.
“There is a true biological effect,’ said Denninger…The kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.’”
Mindfulness-based meditation is being utilized in a wide range of clinical and non-clinical environments, from modern medicine to the corporate world, in sports, education, prison populations, and more.
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In the U.S., approximately 25.8 million people are diabetic, and this number continues to rise.1 Most of us know someone with diabetes who copes with managing the disease’s symptoms and side effects on a daily basis.
There are two types of diabetes. Type I makes up 10-15% of all cases, and is a chronic autoimmune condition which causes the pancreas to stop making insulin. Type II Diabetes accounts for 85% or more of all cases. With Type II, the pancreas still produces insulin, but the body’s cells have become insulin resistant. Some Type II Diabetics are able to control or reverse the disease through diet and lifestyle changes.
Despite their fundamental differences, both Type I and II Diabetics’ primary challenge is managing elevated blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugars can have detrimental effects on the body including poor circulation, weight gain, stiffening of muscles and connective tissues, gum disease, and peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain).
The mental and emotional stresses of dealing with a serious medical condition often trigger anxiety and depression, compounding the physical challenges brought on by diabetes. Scientific studies demonstrate that complementary treatments such as massage, acupuncture and yoga combined with Western medicine can effectively relieve the physical, mental and emotional stressors that result from diabetes.2
In addition to improving circulation, “Massage has been shown to decrease anxiety in a variety of patient populations, including people with diabetes. These stress-reducing benefits of massage have raised the possibility that massage may be of benefit to people with diabetes by inducing the relaxation response, thereby controlling the counter-regulatory stress hormones and permitting the body to use insulin more effectively.”3
According to an ancient Chinese medical book, the Nei Jing, acupuncture has been used to treat diabetes for over 2,500 years.1 Research has confirmed acupuncture’s ability to normalize blood sugar levels and to treat the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy.
Exercise is commonly prescribed as an important part of a diabetes management program. Yoga movement and breathing can improve circulation and oxygenation of the body, as well as increase mind-body awareness, giving diabetics a greater sense of self-control and empowerment in coping with their disease.
This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how they may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or someone you love effectively manage the effects of diabetes.
Acupuncture has been identified as safe and effective treatment for depression. The practice of acupuncture views depression and its accompanying symptoms of pain and anxiety as an imbalance in one’s qi (life force energy). Physiologically, the insertion of acupuncture needles triggers the release of pain-fighting neurotransmitters and endorphins in the body1. Acupuncture works to treat depression by opening up the flow of qi and tapping into the body’s natural ability to heal itself. The result is an increase in physical, mental and emotional well-being.
A research study comparing the efficacy of acupuncture vs. conventional medication found that both methods produced a similar reduction in depression symptoms. However, acupuncture proved to be additionally effective at reducing the anxiety and pain level of subjects2.
Results from a study in China confirmed that acupuncture used to treat acute depression had less side effects than prescription medication, plus stimulated a positive change in biochemical measures of neurotransmitters in the body2. Their research demonstrated that acupuncture has a therapeutic effect on anxiety and cognitive function in individuals, as well as relieving pain and mitigating depression symptoms.
The Stanford University School of Medicine conducted research on the effects of acupuncture on pregnant women with depression. Subjects were divided into three groups: those receiving specific acupuncture, those receiving non-specific acupuncture, and those receiving massage. Out of all three groups, the participants receiving specific acupuncture showed the highest improvement rate on a depression measurement scale after 8 weeks, as well as the highest rate of symptom reduction3. Perhaps the most promising aspect of this study is the potential for acupuncture to be used as non-drug intervention for pregnant women experiencing depression.
Acupuncture alone as a treatment for depression is easily tolerated due its lack of side effects. Studies show that pharmaceuticals may be ineffective in up to 60% of depression cases4, but when combined with acupuncture, the effectiveness of treatment climbs significantly, and benefits may continue for up to six months. Conventional depression medication plus acupuncture together offer depressed patients the potential for increased symptomatic and functional improvement5, as well as considerable reduction in pain and anxiety.
This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how they may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or your workplace experience greater health.