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Mental health

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Relax! It may be just what the doctor ordered. While studies find that mind-body practices (yoga, meditation, etc.) that induce the relaxation response (RR) reduce blood pressure, the molecular pathways that lead to this association remain unknown. A recent study analyzed RR’s effects on gene pathways over an 8-week RR-based intervention in 58 patients diagnosed with hypertension. The intervention consisted of 20 minutes per day of diaphragmatic breathing, mantra repetition, and mindfulness meditation. Blood samples were taken for RNA analysis and results found that RR regulates 1771 genes in the following categories: immune regulatory pathways and metabolism, glucose metabolism, cardiovascular system development, and circadian rhythm. This is the first study to uncover the molecular mechanisms that support mind-body practices as an effective treatment for hypertension. The Journal of Alternative & Complimentary Medicine Society →Takeaway: While the science behind integrative treatment methods (nutrition, meditation, exercise, etc.) is oftentimes lacking, this study illustrates the profound…

Children aged 12 to 18 who have access to green spaces are significantly less likely to suffer from depression than those without access. The study followed 9,000 adolescents over a number of years and found that those with access were 11% less likely to suffer from high depressive symptoms. The study also looked at access to blue spaces (bodies of water) and did not find any significant difference between the two groups. Journal of Adolescent Health →Takeaway: Based on a 2017 study, approximately 13% of U.S. children, aged 12 to 17 suffer from depression symptoms. Surrounding your child with vegetation just might save his or her mental health.