Chronic inflammation can be triggered in multiple ways. The good news is that most of the reasons you will get it are controllable. Inflammation can occur from excessive drinking, sugary drinks, factory farmed dairy products and trans fats.
Food allergies can also cause inflammation, basically the body is reacting to food it can’t handle. Problems with your gut health, infections, stress, exhaustion, not working out are all things that can cause inflammation.
There are ways you can help yourself and it doesn’t take much. Slow down or stop drinking altogether, eat less foods you already know are bad for you and do more yoga.
Results of Chronic Inflammation
When you have chronic inflammation, the body begins to wear down. Your immune system gets weaker which can lead to chronic disease and health issues. This can includes autoimmune diseases, onset of allergies you didn’t have before, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoporosis and arthritis.
Many of these illnesses have a drug that the doctor will want to put you on. The relief will of course be temporary if you don’t make some changes in your life. In lieu of drugs that could give you side effects and are, let’s be honest, the easy way out – is a change in lifestyle.
Holistic Ways to Reduce Inflammation
A nutritious diet will help you in all aspects of your life. If you’ve been living a lifestyle that has caused inflammation, it’s likely you feel tired all of the time and not quite clear in the mind.
By taking D, E, and C vitamins, along with folic acid, you can greatly reduce inflammation. These vitamins have powerful anti-inflammatory components. You should also eat foods that are high in omega 3 and 6, lots of fruits and vegetables and fermented foods.
A study conducted about alternative medicine for inflammation found that yogic breathing for just 20 minutes greatly reduces stress markers of inflammation. The group did 10 minutes of Om chanting and 10 minutes of Rhythmic breathing. Yoga instructors taught the people in the group to inhale for two counts, hold for eight, and exhale for four. This Rhythmic breathing, along with the Om breath helped three stress-related biomarkers to decrease significantly.
Yoga for Reduction of Inflammation
Studies are saying that a regular yoga practice can greatly reduce the stress hormones that promote inflammation. Through various poses, yoga lowers the amount of pro-inflammatory molecules in the body. This is what decreases the specific kind of inflammation that is known to cause painful conditions like arthritis.
Yoga has been found to reduce cytokines, a pro-inflammatory molecule that causes severe pain in diseases like fibromyalgia. Yoga has also been found to inhibit the type of inflammation that causes cancerous cells.
Yoga Reduces Stress
Stress causes a lot of problems in the digestive system and affects blood sugar levels. This can cause inflammation.
When you have chronic stress, the body creates cortisol which prevents the digestive system from doing its job among other things. Your stomach shrinks due to the brain telling it that there is danger around (chronic stress.) The stomach lining becomes irritated from food not being properly digested and inflammation can onset.
On top of this, your organs don’t get vitamins they need to then get rid of the toxins. Acidic toxins build up and the whole body becomes inflamed. Cortisol also causes the body to move sugar into the bloodstream. When you don’t use the energy from this sugar, it becomes stores as fat.
Inflammation, Stress, and Yoga
Stress and inflammation are closely intertwined. Yoga helps us to greatly reduce stress down to our cells. Research has found that yoga increases the level of leptin in the body which is a natural chemical that fights off inflammation in the body. Focusing on breath is equally important. It increases how much oxygen goes to the brain which causes a calming effect.
Yoga also improves your blood sugar balance. You use up the blood glucose that would otherwise turn to fat. Yoga is gentle so you don’t stress the body out. Asanas balance the endocrine system.
Some of the poses will tone and massage the abdominal organs like the pancreas and liver. This then stimulates the nervous system which helps to balance out blood sugar levels.
Yoga has the unique ability to be stimulating and relaxing. It delivers a combination of soothing breathing and deep stretching which helps your muscles relax, increases sleep-friendly melatonin and lowers the sleep antagonist cortisol.
Some Yoga Poses for Inflammation
Cat Cow Pose
Downward Facing Dog
Reducing inflammation will help you look and feel younger. You will have more energy and feel much more relaxed. Your quality of life will be greatly improved. It’s just a matter of eating well and doing yoga every day.
Even just 10 minutes of yoga daily will improve your state of health and has been shown to reduce inflammation. You will also enjoy the benefits of not feeling stressed out anymore. The stress you experience every day is what is causing the inflammation.
About the author
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga.