Middle-aged and older women with osteopenia who practiced tai chi over a 9-month period experienced a reduction in bone density loss and an improvement in postural control that reduced the risk of falls, according to authors of a randomized pilot study conducted in the Boston area. Harvard Medical School researchers designed the study to assess the effectiveness of tai chi and usual care compared with usual care alone for slowing bone loss in postmenopausal osteopenic women.
People with fibromyalgia may want to try meditation to help them cope with challenging symptoms like pain and depression, suggests a study published in Current Pain and Headache Reports (2012; 16: 383–87; doi: 10.1007/s11916-012-0285-8).
Encouraging Iyengar yoga students to continue attending class at least once weekly may make a significant difference in their stress levels and in their quality of life, according to study findings published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012; doi: 10.1155/2012/408727).
Mind-body fitness pros who are trained in relaxation techniques may want to teach clients these skills as part of a comprehensive wellness strategy. Stress impacts both physical and mental well-being. Excess stress can be a causal factor in certain health issues, or it can worsen conditions that are already present. Research findings support using relaxation techniques as part of an overall treatment for stress-related disorders.
In a study with 385 women undergoing treatment for advanced-stage breast cancer, researchers found that reflexology helped women manage their symptoms and improve their ability to accomplish daily activities. The women who received reflexology treatments felt less shortness of breath and were better able to do things like climb stairs, get dressed or go grocery shopping.
Think of a recent time you felt stressed. Maybe it was during an argument with your spouse, or a meltdown with your kids. Maybe you were stuck in traffic and late for an important meeting. Or maybe you were lying in bed, worrying about work. Whatever the cause of your stress, your body and brain were almost certainly experiencing the same thing: boiling blood pressure, a churning stomach, tight muscles and a racing mind.