How To Ease Fibromyalgia Flares Ups with Yoga
Winter is hard enough of as it is – throw fibromyalgia into the mix and it can seem unbearable. For many the drop in temperature, combined with the shorter days, results in an increase in flare-ups and symptoms of depression. If you find yourself in this camp, don’t give up all hope. There are a number of natural approaches you can take to buoy yourself up during the winter months and minimize its negative impact on your health, both physical and mental.
As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor about your symptoms and possible treatments. As complement to traditional medicine, one of our favorite natural approaches to reducing pain and improving the health of body and mind is yoga. Yoga involves a combination of breathing and stretching exercises that have helped many with chronic pain to improve their physical health and learn strategies to cope with pain (as well as constructively deal with stress).
Here are 3 good reasons to try yoga (or any breathing/stretching exercises) this winter…
The combinations of poses and deep breathing help promote better circulation of the blood throughout the body. Good circulation is always important – but even more so during the winter months as exposure to cold weather can lead to poor circulation as the body restricts blood flow to the core to stay warm. Maintaining good circulation is critical as it facilitates the delivery of essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals throughout the body. A deficiency of some of these essential vitamins and nutrients can lead to symptoms of chronic pain.
Stiff joints and aching muscles are a constant thorn in the side of fibromyalgia sufferers – regardless of the time of year. For many, however, cold weather intensifies the pain and discomfort. One reason is that as the weather gets colder our muscles constrict and tighten – leading to aching muscles and stiff joints. The stretching exercises in yoga help loosen these tight muscles/joints and can relieve the soreness associated with them. Yoga also helps release the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles – an acid that contributes to muscle burning and soreness.
Boosts Mood & Energy
Fatigue and depression are two common symptoms of fibromyalgia that can become exacerbated by winter. Yoga tackles these symptoms in a variety of different ways. For one, it helps alleviate anxiety improve mental clarity. Additionally, it helps improve sleep so your body is more rested and able to refuel. Yoga practitioners also describe something they call prana, or your body’s “life force” as they call it. The stretching and breathing help restore this life force – giving your body a renewed sense of energy and life.
In a study by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India, patients experiencing symptoms of depression were given the option of a yoga treatment. At the end of the study, researchers determined that those who practiced yoga experienced a relief in depression symptoms brought about by ‘anti-stress’ effects of the exercise.
If you’re one of the many who experience a flare up of symptoms during the winter months – yoga may provide that extra relief. When done in addition to your traditional treatments, it can be a powerful tool for both physical and mental well-being. What approaches have you taken to cope with your symptoms during the winter months? Share your experience below or leave a comment on our Facebook Page.