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Yoga or Tai Chi to relieve heart problems!

By Ann C Wooledge
on December 12, 2013
1 comment

 

 

Atrial fibrillation - afib for short, an irregular heart beat. A problem we saw often when I worked in the Critical Care Unit. It wasn't one of those issues that caused your adrenaline to spike when you saw it on your patient's EKG, but it was nonetheless concerning and required a call to their doctor and medical - pharmaceutical - intervention. Usually chronic administration of a medication -or two. Afib can cause symptoms that reduce a person's quality of life and it can sometimes progress to something more acute.

Surprisingly for the doctors I think, but not really so surprising to me and possibly you, is a recent article in MedPageToday.com. They found evidence (enough to convince them to review the research and write about it) that yoga actually improves the burden on the heart caused by afib, and also improved heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and depression! Now think about it - how many different medications would one have to take to do all of that!? Exactly! Not to mention all of the side effects from EACH of those medications. It took only three months of yoga training to improve "quality of life parameters, including physical functioning, general health, vitality, social function and mental health" - and this is not the first study to evaluate the effects of yoga for improvement in cardiac problems. Not to be taken lightly, atrial fibrillation can still cause disabling and bothersome symptoms that adversely affect a patient’s quality of life. These doctors agreed that: "One way to help manage the disease and improve quality of life may be to add adjunctive complementary and alternative therapies, such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, therapeutic hypnosis, or tai chi into routine care." That in and of itself is pretty amazing!

If you or a family member, friend or co-worker suffer from ANY cardiac disease, please show them this article for more information including the impressive benefits of practicing Tai Chi. Do I do either of these? Well, actually I don't. I've often considered it, but after reading this and the research studies they provided - and many other articles I've read confirming the benefits, I am going to check out yoga. Well, maybe an at-home video first. At one time I actually thought yoga was a sort of religion and therefore not something a good conservative Christian girl would do. I was so totally wrong about that and I wish I had considered this sooner. And - you don't have to be fit, slender and young as depicted in almost every picture I searched to find something to post here! Do you practice yoga or tai chi? I'd love to know what you think. I'm having coffee with a couple of very dear friends of mine tomorrow morning - both of their husbands have undergone cardiac catheterizations and are on medications. I am copying the article and will take a couple copies with me tomorrow. Maybe we can all start a yoga or tai chi class together - that would be a good way to start the new year!

Below are direct quotes from the article in MedPageToday.com's article. Take a few minutes to read it in more detail here.

  • The regular practice of yoga improves symptoms, arrhythmia burden, heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and depression scores, and several domains of quality of life among patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
  • Twelve weeks of tai chi training can significantly improve heart failure-related quality of life and exercise tolerance, as well as reduce blood levels of B-type natriuretic protein.

Tell me this isn't so much better than taking a lot of pills!! Seriously, I'm just very excited that this totally allopathic website has chosen to publish this article and giving credence to what most of you probably already knew. Show it to your doctor and as with any new exercise program start out slow and do keep in touch with your physician. Hopefully, you can regulate those medications downward and to the point of not taking them at all.

Thanks for listening!

 

Ann

Ann's mission statement truly is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health and nutrition. Ann is a Critical Care Registered Nurse, a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

References provided by MedPageToday.com:

  1. Lakkireddy D, Atkins D, Pillarisetti J, et al. Effect of yoga on arrhythmia burden, anxiety, depression, and quality of life in paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: The YOGA My Heart Study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Jan 25. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Schneider RH, Grim CE, Rainforth MV, et al. Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: randomized, controlled trial of transcendental meditation and health education in blacks. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2012;5:750-758.
  3. Lombardi F, Belletti S, Battezzati PM, et al. Acupuncture for paroxysmal and persistent atrial fibrillation: an effective non-pharmacological tool? World J Cardiol. 2012;4:60-65.
  4. Novoa R, Hammonds T. Clinical hypnosis for reduction of atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Cleve Clin J Med. 2008;75(suppl 2):S44-S47.
  5. Yeh GY, Wood MJ, Lorell BH, et al. Effects of tai chi mind-body movement therapy on functional status and exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Med. 2004;117:541-548.
  6. Caminiti G, Volterrani M, Marazzi G, et al. Tai chi enhances the effects of endurance training in the rehabilitation of elderly patients with chronic heart failure. Rehabil Res Pract. 2011;2011:761958.

 

 

 

Is massage safe while pregnant?

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on January 27, 2012
1 comment

Massage therapy during pregnancy - is it safe?

 

This question was presented to me a few weeks ago. And I seriously didn't know for sure what the answer should be. I do now. Not only is it safe - it is very good for both the pregnant mom and the baby. 

Below are some research articles showing this to be true.

I began doing more research about pregnancy and nursing mothers fairly recently while our daughter-in-law was pregnant with our second awesome grandson. Prior to that most of my research had centered around what essential oils and other personal care products should be used during pregnancy. Since that time one of our very good friends has arrived at her due date - which could be any day now. I was asked if I could make an oil for her labor. Being ignorant of this natural birth method, I began to do some research into how the oil (vegetable oil, not essential oil) is used and, of course, ended up with a huge amount of information about doula's, mid-wives, lactation  educators and more. I have to admit I mourned for more than just a few days that all of this wasn't available to me when I was pregnant 38 years ago as I contemplated what I had missed, and more importantly what my daughter had missed. Maybe she wouldn't have been born with colic and eczema?  I was told NOT to nurse, which was the prevailing "wisdom" given by doctors then, or perhaps it was the part of the country in which I lived. I was also encouraged to NOT have natural birth - "for heaven's sakes why would you want that when we can make it perfectly painless." Good grief.

LESS LABOR PAIN:

In one study, women who were in prenatal classes were divided into two groups, one group to receive massage and coaching in breathing during labor and the other group to receive coaching in breathing only. At the end of the study, the mothers who received the massage indicated less depressed mood, anxiety and pain than the other group. They also had less anxiety after the first massage following labor, less time in the hospital and less postpartum depression.(1)  This is huge. I don't know if essential oils were incorporated in this or not, but I do know they would definitely be beneficial.


LESS DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY:

In yet another study, pregnant women who reported being depressed were randomly divided into three groups: A massage therapy group, a progressive muscle relaxation group and a regular prenatal group with no additional therapies added. Trained massage therapists taught the massage to the ‘significant others’ of the women, who then conducted the twice-weekly massages for the 16-week period. The results of the study showed that the massage therapy group reported less anxiety and depression, as well as less leg and back pain. To add to that, this group had higher levels of neurotransmitters that create good mood (serotonin and dopamine) and less neurotransmitters that indicate stress and anxiety (cortisol and norepinephrine.) These findings were believed to have correlated with better neonatal outcome and less chance of premature or low birthweight babies. To see in more detail the protocol that was used please email me. 

Tell me, did you receive massage therapy during your pregnancy? If so, I'd love to hear how it worked for you - and your baby.

Thanks for listening!

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10212885

(2) http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01674820412331282231

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