By Sarah A LoBisco, ND
In this week’s blog on my homepage I was so excited to share the mechanism of how mind-body is connected to biochemistry and genetic individuality. I hope you can read that article as well as some of the articles I collected for you below. These are validating the efficacy of mind-body medicine and about how our connection in a society really does improve our health:
Mind-Body Medicine Summaries and Brain Mechanisms Explained:
• Many aches and pains are rooted in brain processes that can be affected by your mental attitude and emotions
• Meditation in various forms appears to work for pain relief because it reduces brain activity in your primary somatosensory cortex, an area that helps create the feeling of where and how intense a painful stimulus is
• Mind-body strategies that can have a beneficial effect on both physical and mental/emotional pain include EFT, massage, biofeedback, tai chi, breathing exercises, hypnosis, music therapy, yoga, visualization and incanting a mantra
• The Neurostructural Integration Technique uses gentle moves at precise points on your body to create energy flow and vibrations between the points, allowing your body to naturally resolve pain and dysfunctional psychological conditions.
Mercola, J.13 Mind-Body Techniques That Can Help Ease Pain and Depression. Mercola.com. July 4, 2013.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/04/13-mind-body-techniques.aspx ?e_cid=20130704_DNL_JLY4A50MIN_JLY4BAN_art_1&utm_source=dnl &utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20130704JLY4A50MIN
How Meditation Effects Stress
This is important considering how I discussed on my homepage how stress impacts our overall health including hormonal, blood sugar regulation, immune function, mood, and so much more!
Preliminary evidence suggests that even brief instruction in a simple meditation technique can improve negative mood and perceived stress in healthy adults, which could yield long-term health benefits. Frequency of practice does affect outcome. Those most likely to experience negative emotions may benefit the most from the intervention.
James D. Lane, Jon E. Seskevich, & Carl F. Pieper. BRIEF MEDITATION TRAINING CAN IMPROVE
PERCEIVED STRESS AND NEGATIVE MOOD. ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES, jan/feb 2007, VOL. 13, NO. 1 (source of original content at Alternative Therapies via modernhcp.com 5/5/2013)
How We Connect Effects Our Health
1. Pets Decrease Heart Risk
HOUSTON, TX — You might not want to walk Rex or Rover around the block on a cold January morning, but owning a pet likely reduces the risk of developing heart disease, according to a new statement from the American Heart Association (AHA). Owning pets, particularly dogs, is probably associated with decreased cardiovascular disease risk, says the AHA, and owning a pet–again, particularly dogs–might even have a causal role in reducing cardiovascular disease.
O’Riordan, M. Rover Rx? Pet Ownership May Lower CVD Risk, Says AHA. Medscape: Heartwire. May 14, 2013. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/804126?nlid=31311_590&src=wnl_edit_medn_wir&uac=146852BY&spon=34
2. Music Lovers Unite in Joy
• Music triggers activity in the nucleus accumbens, a part of your brain that releases the feel-good chemical dopamine and is involved in forming expectations.
• Your brain learns how to predict how different pieces of music will unfold using pattern recognition and prediction, skills that may have been key to our evolutionary progress.
• When listening to the same music, different people experience similar brain activity, which may explain why music has the ability to unite and bring people together.
• Listening to music was found to lessen anxiety better than anti-anxiety drugs, and also has beneficial effects on premature babies.
Mercola, J. Why Your Brain Craves Music.Mercola.com. April 27, 2013. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/27/brain-craves-music.aspx
We found that music synchronizes brain responses across listeners in bilateral auditory midbrain and thalamus, primary auditory and auditory association cortex, right-lateralized structures in frontal and parietal cortex, and motor planning regions of the brain. These effects were greater for natural music compared to the pseudo-musical control conditions. Remarkably, inter-subject synchronization in the inferior colliculus and medial geniculate nucleus was also greater for the natural music condition, indicating that synchronization at these early stages of auditory processing is not simply driven by spectro-temporal features of the stimulus. Increased synchronization during music listening was also evident in a right-hemisphere fronto-parietal attention network and bilateral cortical regions involved in motor planning.
Abrams DA, Ryali S, Chen T, Chordia P, Khouzam A, Levitin DJ, Menon V. Inter-subject synchronization of brain responses during natural music listening (Abstract). Eur J Neurosci. 2013 Apr 11. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12173. [Epub ahead of print]
3. Social Isolation Linked to Early Death
People who are socially isolated are more likely to die prematurely, regardless of their underlying health issues, according to a study of the elderly British population.
The findings, published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that when mental and physical health conditions were factored out, the lack of social contact continued to lead to early death among 6,500 men and women tracked over a seven-year period.
Mohan, G. Social Isolation Increases Risk Of Early Death, Study Finds. Los Angeles Times (latimes.com). March 26, 2013. http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/26/science/la-sci-social-isolation-health-20130326
The influence of social relationships on risk for mortality is comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality.
Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB. Social relationships and mortality risk: a meta-analytic review (abstract). PLoS Med. 2010 Jul 27;7(7):e1000316. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316.
4. Volunteering Good For Blood Pressure in Older Adults
New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that older adults who volunteer for at least 200 hours per year decrease their risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure, by 40 percent. The study, published by the American Psychological Association’s Psychology and Aging journal, suggests that volunteer work may be an effective non-pharmaceutical option to help prevent the condition. Hypertension affects an estimated 65 million Americans and is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.
Medical News Today. Risk Of Hypertension In Older Adults Reduced By Volunteering. Medicalnewstoday.com. June 17, 2013. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/261973.php
5. Kindness and Connection for Longer Life
• Studies show that kindness – whether an action or just a thought directed toward yourself or others – can lengthen your life.
• Related to opportunities to give and receive kindness, studies show that people with fewer social relationships die earlier on average than those with more social relationships.
• With or without regular contact with others, a purposed attitude of kindness improves your frame of mind to the extent that the benefits can be compared to maintaining a healthy weight or lowering your blood pressure.
• Study subjects who participated in “loving-kindness” meditation exercises experienced increased joy, serenity and hope, as well as connectedness to others.
• An individual’s aptitude for altruism can be linked to the abundance of gray matter in their brain.
Mercola, J. Kindness: Just the Opposite of Killing Us; It Makes Us Stronger. Mercola.com. July 04, 2013. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/04/kindness.aspx
“People who behaved more altruistically also had a higher proportion of gray matter at the junction between the parietal and temporal lobes.”
Science Daily. The More Gray Matter You Have, the More Altruistic You Are. ScienceDaily.com. July 11, 2012. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711123005.htm