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Harvard Study Finds That Healthcare Costs Can Be Reduced By 43% With Yoga And Meditation

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Imagine if before and after a hectic day of work, everyone took twenty minutes to stretch and objectively contemplate their life’s journey.

According to a Harvard study, such simple practices could change our world – and the healthcare system – dramatically

The study, conducted by Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)’s Institute for Technology Assessment and the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI),  concluded that evoking a relaxation response or a physiologic state of deep rest helps alleviate stress and anxiety while positively benefiting one’s heart and rate and blood pressure.

It is noted by the study’s author that stress-related illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, are the third-highest causes of health expenditures in the United States (after heart disease and cancer, which are also affected by stress).

Said James E. Stahl of MGH:

“Our study’s primary finding is that programs that train patients to elicit the relaxation response — specifically those taught at the BHI — can also dramatically reduce health care utilization.

These programs promote wellness and, in our environment of constrained health care resources, could potentially ease the burden on our health delivery systems at minimal cost and at no real risk.”

TheNewsMinute summarizes that the findings were discerned by doing a comparative analysis of information available on Research Patient Data Registry (RPDR) of Partners HealthCare and data on individuals participating in the BHI Relaxation Response Resiliency Program (3RP). The data extended from 2006 to 2014 and allowed researchers to conclude that practitioners of yoga/meditation/prayer spent significantly lower than non-practitioners on medical services.

In addition, it was also found that practitioners primarily benefitted from neurologic, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal ailments.

The report was published Tuesday in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

For those already invested in wellness, this news is not likely to be shocking. It is a great reminder to all, however, that some of the best ‘medicine’ stems from within and begins with the breath. 


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