Article written by Ashley Rosa
Dementia is a disorder commonly reported among the older population. A very serious disorder by nature, that if left unattended or un-diagnosed while in its early stages, can greatly affect a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities. Neurodegenerative disorders have multiple signs and symptoms such as memory loss, impaired thinking, delayed response, difficulty in verbal communication and coordination. Disorders of this nature gradually lead a person to a point where he or she is unable to recognize loved ones, important life events, and even familiar sights or sounds. While there is no known permanent cure to dementia, there are certain modes of treatment that are said to be quite effective when it comes to dealing with the symptoms of dementia. Certain medication is also useful for controlling its symptoms and thus delay its effects.
Recent research has revealed that meditation and yoga, just like many other factors, may be helpful in preventing dementia and also improving the quality of life for dementia patients as well as their caregivers. Another study that suggested the reversal of memory loss included yoga and meditation in their complex and intricate 36 points therapeutic program.
Benefits of Meditation and Yoga to the Brain
Yoga and meditation are both forms of brain exercises that engage different parts of the brain such as concentration, breathing, visualization, postures, movement, etc. These exercises help the brain form new connections and recover from injuries by instigating a mechanism referred to as neuroplasticity.
Stress induces the release of stress-related hormones that are proven to negatively affect the brain especially the structures associated with memory and cognitive function, i.e., the hippocampus. Stress also is said to induce inflammation in the central nervous system that in turn is said to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Meditation is known to reduce the release of these hormones and inflammatory factors thereby enabling an individual to cope with stress better.
Following are some of the ways in which meditation and yoga can come to the aid of patients with dementia.
Regular meditation and yoga are known to be extremely beneficial in helping reduce the occurrence of memory loss and associated cognitive decline. Patients who are reported to exhibit the least symptoms are the ones who practiced mindful meditation. This was supported by research in which meditators were compared with those who did not practice meditation. They concluded that meditators have more neural connectivity in the parts of their brain that are involved in imagination, reminiscing and daydreaming. If you research, you’ll be able to find a range of brain test reviews that tell you about the power of meditation.
2. Strengthens the Brain
Through yoga and meditation, individuals have been reported to feeling less isolated. Loneliness and isolation are two feelings that are directly associated with the increased risk of developing memory-related illnesses. Meditation inhibits the release of stress hormones which are considered directly responsible for increasing the risk of dementia development. Additionally, patients feel more calm and protected because their mind is not constantly in a state of turmoil.
3. Immunity Booster
Meditation has been reported to serve as an immunity booster. A famous breathing exercise called Bhastrika Pranayama is known to be good immune booster as it helps improve blood circulation and concentration. This breathing exercise also relaxes the body as well as the body. All of these mechanisms in turn act towards relieving stress as well as the occurrence of hypertension, anxiety, and depression.
4. Reduces Stress
In addition to patients, yoga and meditation are highly beneficial for caregivers of dementia patients. Taking care of a person battling dementia is everything but easy. Dementia patients are often reported with mood swings, impaired understanding and communicating. This makes taking care of them all the more challenging. While yoga works to reduce the stress of the patient, it is also extremely helpful for the caretaker because the reduced stress level will enable them to care for their loved one better and be more understanding towards them. Patience is a virtue, but when caring for a loved one battling an illness that induces memory loss accompanied by mood swings, confusion, impaired vision, and orientation, it is a necessity.
5. Mood Stabilizer
Emotional distress is a common presenting sign of dementia. Mental turmoil and constantly living in a state of confusion is the primary reason behind this emotional distress. Mood swings, anxiety, and depression are all factors that leave a negative impact on one’s health overall; not exclusively just their mental health but their physical health as well. Controlling stress and depression and reducing fatigue can help improve one’s overall health and well-being. Yoga is also said to elevate one’s mood because of the release of certain hormones that alter one’s feelings and make them feel more at peace and overall better.
6. Unshackles the Soul
When a person is suffering from dementia, their minds are going through multiple thoughts at once; often indistinguishable. They fail to recognize the familiar; friends, family, surroundings, etc. In the final stages of this illness, patients are often reported to become silent. Helping dementia patients meditate daily has exhibited visible differences in the way they behave and generally deal with this confusing and rather agitating illness. They are reported to be more at peace and are not as glum or as miserable; almost like they are at ease with the outcomes of the illness they are battling. These reports are revolutionary because they reveal patient growth in terms of dealing with internal struggles thereby also demonstrating better predictions for the future, i.e., dealing with outcomes if the disease gets worse.
Yoga and meditation work to improve memory in the same way as games would. Just like practicing gaming makes you better, in the same way, practicing yoga and meditation on a daily basis will help your mind, body, and soul. This practice is the simplest and safest way to help improve your brain activity and strength. To help a dementia patient or anyone who you feel might be at risk of dementia development, adopt this practice, it is best to get involved as their caregiver as well, so they are not the only ones engaged in it. The feeling of being in it with someone will help them learn and adapt quickly and also help you as caregiver feel better yourself as well. Watch out for early signs and symptoms to be better able to recognize this illness before it gets worse.
About the Author:
Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. As writing is her passion that why she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well. She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her at twitter: @ashrosa2.