Posts Tagged yoga

[BLOG POST] Self-care for the caregiver – Harvard Health Blog


Contributing Editor

Caregiving can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Whether you are in the profession of caregiving or taking care of a loved one, it is important to remember to recharge your batteries. For family members, caregiving can also lead to additional pressures, such as financial strain, family conflict, and social withdrawal. Over time, caregiver stress can lead to burnout, a condition marked by irritability, fatigue, problems with sleep, weight gain, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, and social isolation.

Caregiver burnout is an example of how repeated exposure to stress harms mental and physical health. Chronic stress triggers a release of stress hormones in the body, which can lead to exhaustion, irritability, a weakened immune system, digestive distress, headaches, pains, and weight gain, especially in the midsection of the body.

Your body does have a natural way to combat stress. The counter-stress system is called the “relaxation response,” regulated by the parasympathetic nervous system. You can purposefully activate the relaxation response through mind-body practices like yoga, tai chi, meditation, and deep relaxation techniques.

5 ways to care for yourself if you are a caregiver

1.   Self-compassion is essential to self-care.

Being kind to yourself builds the foundation to self-care. Self-compassion means giving yourself credit for the tough, complex work of caregiving, stepping away from the self-critical, harsh inner voice, and allowing yourself time — even if it’s just a few minutes a day — to take care of yourself.

Lack of time or energy can make getting that time away particularly challenging. You may even feel guilty or selfish for paying attention to your own needs. What you need to know is this: in fact, practicing self-care allows the caregiver to remain more balanced, focused, and effective, which helps everyone involved.

2.   Practice simple breath awareness for 10 minutes a day.

One of the simplest deep relaxation techniques is breath awareness. We go over breath awareness, paced breathing, and other breath techniques in The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga. Here is one you can try:

  • Find a comfortable seated position on a chair or cushion.
  • Close your eyes and begin to notice your breath.
  • It is common to have distracting thoughts come and go, but just let them pass, and gently bring your attention back to your breath.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose for five counts, hold and pause for five counts,* and exhale for five counts.
  • Continue for 10 minutes. You may substitute phrases for the counts such as:

I breathe in calm and relaxing energy.

I pause to let the quiet energy relax my body.

I breathe out and release any anxious or tense energy.

  • For deeper relaxation, gradually extend your exhalation, until you reach an exhalation twice the length of the inhalation (10 counts).

*Breathing exercises should not be painful or uncomfortable; if holding your breath is uncomfortable, just eliminate the pause between the inhalation and exhalation.

3.   Try a mind-body practice like yoga, tai chi, meditation, and deep relaxation techniques.

Mind-body practices not only build physical health, but also deepen the awareness and connection between the mind and body. Yoga has been shown to reduce stress in caregiving groups, like family of those with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. We describe yoga breathing, poses, and meditation techniques in The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga.

Mindfulness meditation and deep relaxation techniques can reduce stress. Guided audio meditations are available online:

4.   Make eating well and getting quality sleep priorities.

It’s easy to forget about your own meals and needs when trying to help others. Maintaining adequate sleep and nutrition are key to preventing caregiver burnout. Build a daily 10-minute nighttime routine to achieve more restful sleep. Your nighttime routine can include your breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga poses. Missing meals can lead to irritability and fatigue, so it is important to eat regularly scheduled meals throughout the day.

Nutrition can also be an important factor to prevent burnout. Chronic stress has been linked to increased inflammation in the body, so it is helpful to avoid foods that are processed or high in refined sugars, which increase inflammation in the body. Avoid or reduce alcohol, since alcohol both increases inflammation in the body and disrupts quality of sleep.

5.   Remain socially connected. Find support through local caregiver support groups.

While it can be difficult to keep social appointments with friends and family in the face of medical caretaking, it is important to maintain social connections to feel less isolated and prevent burnout.

Realizing that you’re not alone and that others are going through similar experiences nurtures your ability to be self-compassionate. Hospitals and local organizations often offer caregiver support groups for family and caregivers.


Dr. Marlynn Wei is the keynote speaker at South County Hospital’s Women’s Wellness Day at the Newport Marriott on Saturday, October 27, 2018. She will offer self-care tips to relieve caregiver stress and prevent caregiver burnout.

via Self-care for the caregiver – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing

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[Abstract] The Beneficial Effects of Mind-body Exercises for People with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis

Highlights

  • A meta-analysis on 1298 adults with MCI was conducted.
  • The effects of mind-body exercises (MBE) on various cognitions was assessed.
  • Various MBEs, such as Tai Chi, were effective in enhancing numerous cognitive outcomes.

Abstract

Objective

To objectively evaluate the most common forms of mind body exercise (MBE) (Tai Chi, Yoga, and Qigong) on cognitive function among people with MCI.

Data sources

We searched six electronic databases (Scopus, PubMed, PsycINFO, WanFang, Web of Science, and CNKI) from inception until September, 2018.

Study Selection

Nine randomized controlled trials and three non-randomized controlled trials were included for meta-analysis.

Data Extraction

Two researchers independently performed the literature searches, study selection, data extraction, and methodological quality assessment using the revised Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale.

Data Synthesis

The pooled effect size (standardized mean difference, SMD) was calculated while random-effect model was selected. Overall results of the meta-analysis (N = 1298 people with MCI) indicated that MBE significantly improved attention (SMD = 0.39, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.71, p = 0.02, I2 = 31.6%, N = 245), short-term memory (SMD= 0.74, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.90, p < 0.001, I2 = 0%, N = 861), executive function (SMD = -0.42, 95% CI -0.63 to -0.21, p < 0.001, I2 = 38.54%, N = 701), visual-spatial/executive function (SMD = 0.35, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.64, p < 0.05, I2 = 0%, N = 285), and global cognitive function (SMD = 0.36, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.52, p < 0.001, I2 = 15.12%, N = 902). However, the significant positive effect on cognitive processing speed was not observed following MBE interventions (SMD = 0.31, 95% CI -0.01 to 0.63, p = 0.054, I2 = 28.66%, N = 233).

Conclusions

Study findings of this meta-analysis suggest that MBE have the potential to improve various cognitive functions in people with MCI.

via The Beneficial Effects of Mind-body Exercises for People with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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[Abstract] Determining the potential benefits of yoga in chronic stroke care: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Abstract

Background: Survivors of stroke have long-term physical and psychological consequences that impact their quality of life. Few interventions are available in the community to address these problems. Yoga, a type of mindfulness-based intervention, is shown to be effective in people with other chronic illnesses and may have the potential to address many of the problems reported by survivors of stroke.

Objectives: To date only narrative reviews have been published. We sought to perform, the first systematic review with meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that investigated yoga for its potential benefit for chronic survivors of stroke.

Methods: Ovid Medline, CINHAL plus, AMED, PubMed, PsychINFO, PeDro, Cochrane database, Sport Discuss, and Google Scholar were searched for papers published between January 1950 and August 2016. Reference lists of included papers, review articles and OpenGrey for Grey literature were also searched. We used a modified Cochrane tool to evaluate risk of bias. The methodological quality of RCTs was assessed using the GRADE approach, results were collated, and random effects meta-analyses performed where appropriate.

Results: The search yielded five eligible papers from four RCTs with small sample sizes (n = 17–47). Quality of RCTs was rated as low to moderate. Yoga is beneficial in reducing state anxiety symptoms and depression in the intervention group compared to the control group (mean differences for state anxiety 6.05, 95% CI:−0.02 to 12.12; p = 0.05 and standardized mean differences for depression: 0.50, 95% CI:−0.01 to 1.02; p = 0.05). Consistent but nonsignificant improvements were demonstrated for balance, trait anxiety, and overall quality of life.

Conclusions: Yoga may be effective for ameliorating some of the long-term consequences of stroke. Large well-designed RCTs are needed to confirm these findings.

Source: Determining the potential benefits of yoga in chronic stroke care: a systematic review and meta-analysis: Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation: Vol 24, No 4

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[Abstract] The feasibility and impact of a yoga pilot programme on the quality-of-life of adults with acquired brain injury – CNS

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This pilot study measured the feasibility and impact of an 8-week yoga programme on the quality-of-life of adults with acquired brain injury (ABI).

METHODS: Thirty-one adults with ABI were allocated to yoga (n = 16) or control (n = 15) groups. Participants completed the Quality of Life After Brain Injury (QOLIBRI) measure pre- and post-intervention; individuals in the yoga group also rated programme satisfaction. Mann-Whitney/Wilcoxon and the Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests were used to evaluate between- and within-group differences for the total and sub-scale QOLIBRI scores, respectively.

RESULTS: No significant differences emerged between groups on the QOLIBRI pre- or post-intervention. However, there were significant improvements on overall quality-of-life and on Emotions and Feeling sub-scales for the intervention group only. The overall QOLIBRI score improved from 1.93 (SD = 0.27) to 2.15 (SD = 0.34, p = 0.01). The mean Emotions sub-scale increased from 1.69 (SD = 0.40) to 2.01 (SD = 0.52, p = 0.01), and the mean Feeling sub-scale from 2.1 (SD = 0.34) to 2.42 (SD = 0.39, p = 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Adults with ABI experienced improvements in overall quality-of-life following an 8-week yoga programme. Specific improvements in self-perception and negative emotions also emerged. High attendance and satisfaction ratings support the feasibility of this type of intervention for people with brain injury.

Source: Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Guide – Research Reports – The feasibility and impact of a yoga pilot programme on the quality-of-life of adults with acquired brain injury

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[Poster] Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Clinical Presentation and Use of Splinting – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Source: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Clinical Presentation and Use of Splinting – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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[WEB SITE] Feasibility and results of a case study of yoga to improve physical functioning in people with chronic traumatic brain injury

PURPOSE: The purpose of this mixed-methods case study was to investigate whether an 8-week 1:1 yoga program was feasible and beneficial to people with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

METHOD: This was a mixed-methods case study of one-to-one yoga for people with TBI included three people. We completed assessments before and after the 8-week yoga intervention and included measures of balance, balance confidence, pain, range of motion, strength and mobility. Qualitative interviews were included at the post-assessment. We include a percent change calculation and salient quotes that represent the perceived impact of the yoga intervention.

RESULTS: All participants completed the yoga intervention and all demonstrated improvements in physical outcome measures. For the group, balance increased by 36%, balance confidence by 39%, lower extremity strength by 100% and endurance by 105%. Qualitative data support the use of yoga to improve multiple aspects of physical functioning, one participant stated: “I mean it’s rocked my world. It’s changed my life. I mean all the different aspects. I mean physically, emotionally, mentally, it’s given me you know my life back…”.

CONCLUSIONS: Yoga, delivered in a one-to-one setting, appears to be feasible and beneficial to people with chronic TBI. Implications for Rehabilitation Chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI) leads to many aspects of physical functioning impairment. Yoga delivered in a one-to-one setting may be feasible and beneficial for people with chronic TBI.

Source: Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Guide – Research Reports – Feasibility and results of a case study of yoga to improve physical functioning in people with chronic traumatic brain injury

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