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Halt Winter’s Maladies With Yoga September 15, 2007

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternatives.
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CHICAGO — Everyone knows there’s no cure for the common cold, but can a common form of exercise prevent the sniffles and protect against other disease? HealthWatch reporter Nesita Kwan reminded viewers Tuesday night that the sneezy sounds of winter are right around the corner. For many, that may mean a visit to the doctor’s office.
Dr. Theri Raby, at Northwestern’s Center for Integrative Medicine, says don’t treat the cold. The trick is to not get it in the first place. And she and Kwan believe that that’s something you can work on long before winter settles in. “Your immune system really impacts your overall health,” Raby said. “And so what we’re looking at is what we can do to make sure that we have an immune system that is intact.”

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What she often suggests is something you can’t get at the pharmacy. “I prescribe yoga on a regular basis,” Raby said. And Kwan said that there’s science behind this prescription. A recent Washington State University study found that breast cancer patients who practiced yoga three times a week felt less pain, and were less tired and fearful. And their blood tests revealed that they had noticeably less of the stress that damages the immune system. “We know we have this one particular immune system protein that is a marker for stress. We have found that it actually can shift (and) decrease that particular protein in the body,” the doctor said. NBC5 Fitness Team member Sergio Rojas demonstrated some immunity-boosting yoga moves during a class at the Lakeshore Athletic Club. “Today’s yoga practice focuses on the immune system,” he told a roomful of practitioners. Rojas began with what is called the fish pose, which involves arching the chest and putting the crown of head onto floor. This pose “opens up the chest and brings in more oxygen and circulation,” he said. That’s oxygen that cells constantly use for basic functions. More oxygen also gives the immune system more ammunition to fight off bacteria and viruses. Rojas instructed his class to twist to right while laying on their backs with their knees tucked to their stomachs. This is a motion that yogis say compresses and then releases your internal organs, improving your circulation and getting the toxins out of your system faster. He then moved the participants into the Downward Dog, a basic yoga pose that is said to stimulate the lymph system. Lymph fluid carries immune cells throughout the body. Then there’s the child’s pose, which Rojas said, “Puts us in a relaxed state” and lowers levels of immunity-attacking stress chemicals, and replaces them with the endorphins that make you feel good.”Namaste,” Rojas said to the class in the traditional close of a yoga class.

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