Body/mind healing arts: Saturday news and blogs


Yoga protects the brain from depression — Telegraph

Practising yoga really does relax your mind as well as your body more than other types of exercise, a new study claims.

Researchers have found that three sessions of the exercise a week can help fight off depression as it boosts levels of a chemical in the brain which is essential for a sound and relaxed mind.
Scientists found that the levels of the amino acid GABA are much higher in those that carry out yoga than those do the equivalent of a similarly strenuous exercise such as walking.

The chemical, GABA, is essential to the function of brain and central nervous system and which helps promote a state of calm within the body.

Low GABA levels are associated with depression and other widespread anxiety disorders.

GABA is also the target neurotransmitter for benzodiazepines and the withdrawal syndrome that ensues is thought to be a damaged GABA system from the drug use. Yoga will not create this damage instead one will only get the benefits and it is also indicated for any mental health problem not just depression.

Tai Chi:

Tai chi appears to help fibromyalgia patients — Boston Globe

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that interrupts sleep and causes stiffness and other psychological and physical issues. Exercise, along with behavioral therapy, wellness education, and medication are typically part of the multi-pronged treatments for the syndrome, but nothing has yet proved to be a silver bullet in eliminating the pain.

Tai chi involves meditation, deep breathing, and smooth, slow movements to enhance relaxation.

A small body of earlier research has indicated that non-traditional therapies, such as tai chi, could improve patients’ ability to manage pain and even overcome depression, but these studies were less rigorous than the new one.

This sort of natural treatment for pain is far preferable to SSRIs that are so often now used for fibromyalgia. I referred to this yesterday in a post that responds to a news item about a connection between fibromyalgia and bipolar. Also of note many people have anecdotally reported that Tai Chi and other movement meditations are also profoundly healing for mental health issues.

And meditation:

Integrative body-mind training (IBMT) meditation found to boost brain connectivity — Science Daily

Just 11 hours of learning a meditation technique induces positive structural changes in brain connectivity by boosting efficiency in a part of the brain that helps a person regulate behavior in accordance with their goals, researchers report.

This is a reminder that our brain is neuroplastic and can always change and grow and heal. I have many posts about neuroplasticity on this blog.

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