In this last article of the five part series, we’ll explore how health is in fact impacted by practicing concentrated relaxation. Science has demonstrated the multifaceted benefits related to the practice and how it positively influences a diverse population, but how they’re benefited is more complicated.
To break it down, there are three chief areas where benefits are mentioned. They are emotionally, physically and systemically. Such activities are credited with a number of psychological or mental health benefits. Penney Cowan, founder and executive director of the American Chronic Pain Association, explains how these methods work: “Relaxation techniques redirect your thinking from bodily pain and on something else.”
Mental health is often overlooked in favor of physical symptoms, but as depression rates rise, it becomes more vital to address how the two are related. Those who exercise focused relaxation report enhanced mental clarity, sense of health and stress management. By integrating focused relaxation into ones lifestyle, stress levels in the body can be radically reduced. The physical advantages have shown to be powerful too. In actuality, this kind of therapy is used with patients suffering chronic pain or disorder to handle pain and negative symptoms associated with their problem. While some modalities will impact physical changes over others, nearly all show benefit by enabling tight muscles to relax.
Jennifer Markham, PhD, at the Universityof Pittsburgh Pain Clinic, explains some of the advantages: “Relaxation skills are beneficial in reducing muscle tension, and can help reduce frustration and some of the strain.” For more physical forms this type of yoga, tai chi and Qi Gong, there’s marked improvement in balance, muscle strength, range of movement and flexibility. Reduced injury and enhanced skeletal alignment also have been noticed by participants. Beyond psychological and bodily changes, concentrated relaxation is currently being shown to influence the human entire body on a systemic level also.
Dr. Herbert Benson’s study shows that just because it is possible to lead to health problems in the body through lifestyle choices, you may also create decent health through lifestyle also. In precisely the exact same manner that cortisol is released during times of stress, causing the retention of stomach fat, relaxation techniques discharge healing properties. Dr. Benson’s research is the first comprehensive study to demonstrate how mind states can influence gene expression.
Positive Impacts on Health
What scientists are discovering is that the normal use of relaxation techniques may have positive impacts on health at a cellular level, creating systemic changes within the body. Systemic changes can be either negative or positive. Negative changes are observed when the nervous system isn’t adequately relaxed, causing over-stimulation and resulting in a protracted “fight or flight” response. Not designed for such prolonged stimulation, the body is able to exhibit mood swings, mental exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, depression, and insomnia in addition to other sleep disturbances consequently.
In contrast, “the relaxation reaction releases muscle tension, lowers blood pressure and slows the heart and breath prices. The new work is revealing that along with these changes come changes in hormone levels that appear to produce beneficial effects on the immune system” said Dr. Benson. Research and testimonials are exposing the truth of these therapeutic benefits to a larger audience, resulting in greater mainstream acceptance and use of the relaxation response, relaxation therapy and concentrated relaxation generally, thus enabling more people to detect the backyard of health benefits associated with them. The objective of this series is to introduce concentrated relaxation as a workable health measure. It’s my hope that, after completely exploration the topic, a larger number of individuals will now look at making focused relaxation a normal part of their everyday routines, permitting them to harvest abundant health and wellness.