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A new study conducted by researchers from UCLA looked at the reasoning behind yoga's benefit to not only a caregiver's physical health, but their mental health as well. This comes after a study six months ago in which the researchers found caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia can lower their stress levels by participating in short daily meditation.
The researchers took blood samples before and after an eight-week study, which broke up 45 family caregivers into two groups. One participated in daily 12-minute sessions of Kirtan Kriya Meditation (KKM), while the other took the same amount of time to sit and relax. After the eight weeks the study's authors noticed 68 genes acting differently after the KKM, and it eventually reduced inflammation.
"The goal of the study was to determine if meditation might alter the activity of inflammatory and antiviral proteins that shape immune cell gene expression," said study author Dr. Helen Lavretsky. "Our analysis showed a reduced activity of those proteins linked directly to increased inflammation. This is encouraging news. Caregivers often don't have the time, energy, or contacts that could bring them a little relief from the stress of taking care of a loved one with dementia, so practicing a brief form of yogic meditation, which is easy to learn, is a useful too."
Maintaining good physical health is imperative for caregivers, as they likely want their own golden years to be filled with activities and relaxation – instead of any health conditions. However, as people age, they have an increased risk of developing various conditions and diseases. As a result, they may want to protect themselves as well as their family by setting up a Medicare supplement insurance plan in the event of an unexpected medical condition.