Expert researchers from researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), New York Medical College (NYMC), and the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons (CCPS) are working together to develop mind-body practices for the prevention and treatment of stress related health disorders such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and cardiac disease .
Stress is known to cause causes an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is over activated during stressful events; heart rate increases, blood sugar levels increase, digestion and general functions of the body are restricted. Conversely, the parasympathetic nervous system is under active; rest and rejuvenation is does not occur in order for the body to function properly. In addition to this the researchers argue that that stress causes the under-activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA).
Low GABA levels are associated with anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, epilepsy and chronic pain.
The researchers are using particular mind-body practices such as yoga which have been shown to reduce stress and have been found to reduce stress related nervous system imbalances. The work is set to be used in collaboration of medication treatment for stress related health problems .
The mere fact that there are some high profile medical teams working on such collaborations with more holistic, less toxic means of reducing stress such as yoga is a positive development.