I have been doing quite a lot of yoga recently. I drifted away from yoga for years but in the last few months rediscovered my love for spending time on the yoga mat. It has been a beautiful way to end 2014.
I found this amazing study regarding the benefits of yoga and relaxation practices. The Benson-Henry Institute is part of Massachusetts General Hospital. The founder, Dr. Herbert Benson established the scientific basis for the mind/body connection at Harvard Medical School in the 1960's. He realized that reducing stress results in a great number of healthy changes in the body.
Today the Benson-Henry Institute teaches clients relaxation techniques including yoga and meditation. The institute studied their clients who received this training in large retrospective, cohort study focusing on healthcare costs and visits.
The research found that those who practiced these techniques reduced health care use by 43%! There was a 50% decrease in the need for medical imaging. Plus a 21% decrease in the need for medical procedures. These are amazing numbers!
The wonderful thing about the work of Benson-Henry Institute is they do not advocate for any one technique to reduce stress. They believe...
"This can be done using any number of meditative techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing, repetitive prayer, qi gong, tai chi, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, jogging, even knitting."
They also offer training for therapists, nurses, counselors and social workers. (Of course, acupuncture and other kinds of bodywork are great techniques for reducing stress too!)
I love this kind of news! It should spread!