Friday, August 22, 2014

Why Expectant Mothers Should Consider Regular Yoga Practice

Several studies have emerged on the benefits of yoga practice for expectant mothers. These studies show how yoga reduces labor pain and delivery time while preventing pregnancy complications and promoting mental health. About 10 percent of women experience mental health problems during pregnancy that can increase the risk of delivery problems and low birth weight. By combating stress, anxiety, and depression, yoga helps reduce the risks caused by mental health issues.

A randomized study published in Preventive Medicine found that yoga prevented complications in high-risk pregnancies. In the study, which involved one hour of prenatal yoga three times weekly, participants experienced significantly fewer complications than women in the control group. Another benefit, according to the study, was the reduction of pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes.

Thai researchers conducted a study on the relationship between prenatal yoga and pain. The study, published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, found that women who practiced yoga in six one-hour sessions experienced reduced pain during labor and after birth, as compared to the control group. Additionally, the yoga group had a shorter average total labor time, especially in the first stage.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to Maximize the Relaxation from a Massage Therapy Session

Most people do not receive massages on a daily basis. For that reason, they should treat the massage as a special occasion and take steps to maximize the feeling of relaxation that the massage provides. On the day of the massage, individuals should avoid distractions that could spoil their mood or introduce new stresses, such as e-mail, computers, and smartphones. If possible, they should free their day of other appointments and schedule the massage for a time when they can escape work and other stressful activities.

Some people may want to nap after a massage, which is actually a great way of complementing massage’s therapeutic effects, as sleep allows the body to recharge. Experts often recommend a 30-minute nap following a massage for the full rejuvenating benefits of sleep, but individuals can sleep for longer if they wish.

Massage therapists often recommend drinking water following a session. By helping the kidneys eliminate waste products more efficiently, water facilitates the removal of toxins released by the body during a massage.                            

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yoga Linked to Reductions in Blood Pressure

In recent years, researchers have become more interested in testing the effects of yoga on various medical conditions through randomized controlled trials. Studies have shown that yoga may be a useful tool in treating irregular heart rhythms, post-traumatic stress disorder, and several other conditions. Additionally, a review conducted at the University of Duisburg-Essen by the Faculty of Medicine found that yoga might prove very beneficial for individuals with hypertension.

The team published its finding in the American Journal of Hypertension. The review looked at seven previous studies and concluded that practicing yoga reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with elevated blood pressure by a significant amount. Individuals with higher blood pressure realized greater benefits from yoga practice.

The seven studies approached their definitions of yoga differently and examined a variety of styles and techniques. Some of the studies focused more on yogic breathing than a physical practice. Thus, drawing concrete conclusions will require more research and large trials designed according to modern standards in biomedical research.

Individuals who attempt yoga for medical reasons should always consult with a physician and find a qualified instructor.                            

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Role of Yoga in the Daily Lives of Athletes

Yoga continues to increase in popularity throughout the United States among various populations, including athletes. Valorie Kondos-Field, a gymnastics coach at the University of California, Los Angeles, has identified yoga as one of the primary means of maintaining health for student-athletes under great physical and mental stress. Additionally, University of Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has cited yoga as a major means of relieving the pressure of the sport. Teams like the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia Eagles have employed yoga instructors, and sports stars like LeBron James and Vernon Davis to speak openly about the adoption of yoga as part of their regimen.

Many athletes have such a demanding schedule that they have little time to relax. Yoga forces them to slow down and pay attention to their bodies, which can significantly aid in the restorative process. Many athletes have also recognized the benefits of Bikram, also known as “hot” yoga, which individuals perform in a room set at about 105 degrees. The high temperature not only helps to loosen the muscles and mitigate soreness after games and practices, but also offers a mental challenge that many athletes enjoy.