Yoga & Meditation: Complementary Therapies for Chronic Pain & Inflammation

thepositivepear_meditation_yoga.pngOn November 11, 2016 at 11:11am, so 11-11-16 at 11:11am this blog will be four years old! All I can think is WOW!  In spite of my long hiatus from posting any updates, this blog continues to be a wonderful resources for “Spondys & Spoonies,” I still receive emails and FB messages from people thanking me for information that I’ve shared here, which is so very touching, quite amazing and extremely rewarding.  Anyone who continues to follow the blog, or checks back periodically to read posts, can probably gather that I’m a big advocate for holistic health and I’ve shared on a variety of topics relating to complementary therapies and alternative treatments and one of my absolute favorite posts, were those where I shared information on the wonderful benefits of yoga and meditation for Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I posted in those days as a lover of yoga and an avid practitioner, now I have the wonderful privilege of sharing information from the perspective of not only someone who practices yoga, but also as someone who teaches both yoga & meditation. Since starting this blog, I’ve become a Registered Yoga Teacher & Meditation Teacher. Though I’ve been in the Health, Wellness & Fitness industry for a very long time and have always helped people achieve their health, wellness and fitness goals in one capacity or another, I’m very excited to travel this new path. I’m even more excited to have the opportunity to work with “Spondys & Spoonies” in person as I help them to incorporate yoga & meditation as a means of helping to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. This a huge milestone towards the vision that I had for this project when starting it fours years ago.

I referred to yoga & meditation as complementary therapies, which speaks to the traction that yoga is gaining in the health industry, as providers incorporate “yoga as a therapy” into their practices.  While acupuncture, chiropractic treatment and nutritional counseling are some of the more common “complementary” therapies, yoga is quickly joining the ranks. Especially when considering the fact that Rehab Hospitals and clinics that provide occupational therapy, commonly incorporate Iyengar yoga into their patients health care regimens, as a means of helping them to build strength through proper alignment.  This is because yoga poses are isometric movements, which make it much easier for patients to achieve, in spite of inflamed tissues.  As opposed to the repetitive movements used in traditional physical therapy, that tend to exacerbate inflammation.  Iyengar and true Hatha yoga not only encourages proper alignment, but builds strength from holding the poses a lot longer than you would in a Vinyasa yoga and the use of breath helps patients to endure the temporary discomfort.  Incorporating yoga helps patients to achieve alignment awareness, which makes it easier for them practice the postures at home, thus contributing to a more successful recovery. 

Cancer Centers have been incorporating yoga into their cancer treatment programs for more than 10 years. Studies have shown that yoga helps to reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue and stress for some patients. Combined with meditation, the results have been improvements in sleep quality and a boost in patient mood and overall well-being.

Some medical centers are also incorporating yoga, along with other complementary therapies into their primary care. Doctors are actually referring patients to the on staff clinical yoga specialists, who works with patients to help develop a yoga sequence specifically for their particular ailment. This is exactly what I envisioned two years ago when posting an article on how yoga and alternative therapies were beginning to show up as elective courses at many medical schools across the country. This is so much better than a prescription for yoga that I spoke about in that post, because doctors and yoga therapists are now collaborating in medical centers to develop comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to healing. As someone living with chronic pain, who advocates for holistic health and appreciates the value of yoga as a practitioner and teacher, seeing western medicine incorporating so many aspects of eastern medicine and philosophy makes me very happy.

The Positive Pear Blog: Holistic Health & Whole Body Wellness for Invisible Chronic Illness

The Positive Pear is a health, wellness and fitness blog providing information on “holistic” health & whole body wellness for invisible chronic illness. The goal is to provide in a single location information for those looking to control the symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis (spondyloarthropathy) Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome naturally (CFIDS). You’ll find recipes and articles on whole healthy nutrition, with a focus on gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb, low-starch low-sodium, real food, & whole foods.  You’ll also find information on natural and alternative therapies  herbal remedies, natural supplements, pain management, stress management and appropriate forms of exercise. In addition to ways of maintaining a positive mental attitude while living with invisible chronic illness. A boost in positive thinking is encouraged through beautiful images accompanying quotes and words of inspiration.  The TPP blog & Facebook page have attracted even those who aren’t battling chronic health conditions, because the information provided is crucial to maintaining a healthy, vibrant, well balanced lifestyle with a positive frame of mind. Knowledge is powerful!

What is Holistic health? 

The word “Holstic” is characterized by the treatment of the whole person, mind & body while taking into account physical, mental psychological, social, economic, spiritual and even cultural factors, rather than just the physical body.  Holistic treatment/natural medicine: is a way of upholding all aspects of a person’s health requirements by focusing on the physical, mental, psychological, spiritual and social needs which are all taken into account and seen as a whole.  The holistic health care is widely accepted within the Natural, Homeopathic & Alternative Medicine communities.  This acceptance continues to expand within the traditional medical community as their knowledge grows and as research supports the efficacy of alternative therapies and natural remedies. In addition to research upholding the influence that mental and emotional factors may have on a person’s health. There are natural remedies that focus on a single aspect of treatment, for example cherry juices is used to treat inflammation.  However, this would not be considered “holistic” treatment, though it would be considered a natural remedy, which may or may not be incorporated into a holistic health care regimen. In addition, simply focusing on nutrition in an attempt to treat the entire person, would be utilizing aspects of holistic treatment. Remember the goal in holistic health care is to treat the whole person.  People’s resistance to the term “holstic’ especially when it comes to treating chronic illness has a lot to due with their lack of knowledge. Through The Positive Pear I attempt to bring greater awareness to the holistic healthcare and the natural “whole body” approach to managing invisible chronic illness and it’s positive effects on a both the mind and body.

How The Positive Pear utilizes the holistic approach to whole body wellness to help those with chronic invisible illness.

Taking a holistic approach to both managing and treating chronic invisible illnesses such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome means treating the whole body, as discussed in many articles on The Positive Pear. “Whole Body Wellness” is separated into categories and discussed in several key points.  The many ways in which we can take a holistic approach are: (1) The mind, by maintaining a positive mental attitude & positive thinking, meditation and positive energy.  (2) The body through healthy nutrition, herbal remedies, natural supplements, natural pain management and exercise. (3) Social aspects with an emphasize on healthy association and a reliable support system. (4) psychological through educational articles regarding mental health and invisible chronic illness, in addition to driving awareness of symptoms such a anxiety, stress and depression and their impact on emotional health, as well as tips on maintaining emotional balance.

Maintainin good health and being happy is a result of a lifestyle that incorporates all facets of health, hence the term “holistic” meaning whole body.  I have been an herbalist &  a holistic health advocate for more than 20 years.  I also live with invisible chronic illness. There is no cure for the auto immune disease that I have, so being able to successfully manage my symptoms naturally has empowered me.  I’ve managed my own symptoms with great success by utilizing “whole body wellness” even utilizing this approach for many years prior to being diagnosed. I’ve also experienced great benefits by maintaining an open mind, while learning, growing an evolving as we should as humans and recognizing that we must take this approach with our bodies as well.  Everyone can benefit from aspects of a holistic health regimen, but great benefits can be achieved by embracing all aspects of holistic health care. Of course it can never be an all or nothing approach, because life is never quite that cut and dry. However, one can benefit from taking small steps in the direction of whole body wellness, while keeping in mind the ever important goal which is balance. You can find much helpful information here on The Positive Pear to help you along the way.

The Positive Pear Articles

Nutritional, Gluten-Free, Diary-Free, Low-Starch & Inflammation Friendly Recipes

The Healing Power of Organic, Real Food, Superfoods & Whole Foods

The Healing Power of Positive Thinking (Positive Energy)

The Healing Power of Exercise

Natural Pain Management

Natural Stress Management Techniques

(All rights reserved.  Please feel free to share this article in its entirety, excerpts or links provided full & clear credit is given to The Positive Pear Blog)