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Doing Yoga changes the way your Brain handles Pain

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At the annual meeting of the American Pain Society M. Catherine Bushnell, PhD, scientific director, Division of Intramural Research, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, explained in a plenary session address the ways that yoga helps people cope with chronic pain.

The press release titled, Yoga and Chronic Pain Have Opposite Effects on Brain Gray Matter, highlights these major findings. Mind-body techniques, such as yoga and meditation, can counteract the brain anatomy effects of chronic pain.

Based in Chicago, the American Pain Society is a multidisciplinary community that brings together a diverse group of scientists, clinicians and other professionals to increase the knowledge of pain and transform public policy and clinical practice to reduce pain-related suffering.

“Insula gray matter size correlates with pain tolerance, and increases in insula gray matter can result from ongoing yoga practice. The encouraging news for people with chronic pain is mind-body practices seem to exert a protective effect on brain gray matter that counteracts the neuroanatomical effects of chronic pain”- M. Catherine Bushnell, PhD. There is much research about pain in the body like this helpful article.

Though our first instinct is often to ignore or numb the pain, it is important to remember that pain is the body’s way of communicating to us that we need to take action.

If we do take action by being present in our bodies, exercising, stretching or doing yoga, we may reduce the pain and develop more healthy patterns in our lives.


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Post Author: Carla Parsons

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