Yoga And Meditation Help To Reduce Stress, Healthcare Costs

Enlightenment in nature

Spending time alone, either practicing yoga or thoughtful meditation, can significantly help strengthen the body and actually reduce healthcare costs, according to a recent study.

Stress affects both the mind and body, therefore focusing on managing stress can help improve overall health and well-being. These practices can induce a deep physiological state of rest and can help a person’s heart rate, oxygen consumption and blood pressure.

Those who practice yoga, tai chi, prayer, rhythmic breathing or mindfulness meditation can reduce the need for health care services by around 43 percent.

In a recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers note that most health care costs are due to stress-related disorders, such as anxiety and depression. In 2012, the total expenditure amounted to $80 billion per year Furthermore, nearly 90% of people who suffer from stress-related disorders do seek health care services, and 80% of these patients show a lack of resiliency.

The study assessed information from patients who applied themselves at the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) Relaxation Response Resiliency programs between 2006 and 2014. Medical data, from the over 4,4000 participants in the program, was compared to that of 13,150 patients who did not take the program. The study found that the program participants used significantly less health care services following the program compared to the year before.

Researchers state that mind-body intervention should be viewed as a preventative care, similar to a vaccination or driver education.

“We have shown in the past that it works in the laboratory and on the level of individual physiology, and now we can see that when you make people well, they do not want to use health care so much,” said James Stahl, lead researcher from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Centre in New Hampshire.

These practices help participants learn how to identify and challenge day-to-day negative attitudes that undermine health. Having an optimistic outlook and a sense of connectedness, meaning, and purpose in your life contributes to resilience.

“Just like fluorinating your water or vaccinating yourself, these are ways of keeping you healthy with, from a public health perspective, minimal investment,” Stahl said.

from Bjorn Koch | Healthcare

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