According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine “Mind-body practices focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior, with the intent to use the mind to affect physical functioning and promote health”.
Mind-body practices have been found to be helpful for many conditions as they can improve relaxation and coping skills, lessen pain and may reduce the use of prescription medications. Infertility patients may benefit by utilizing Mind-Body practices. A number of studies have shown that Mind-Body programs may improve pregnancy rates and ease the stresses of treatment. One of the model Mind- Body programs for Infertility is in Boston under the guidance of Alice Domar, PhD.
A number of methods are employed in Mind-Body medicine. A sampling of techniques include:
- Deep-breathing exercises: may bring on a state of relaxation and calm Studies have shown that deep breathing can lower the heart rate and blood pressure, reduce muscular tension and reduce stress hormone production
- Meditation: may increase calmness and relaxation, aid in coping with illness, and improve well-being
- Exercise and Mindful walking
- Yoga: combines physical activity, breathing techniques and meditation
- Guided imagery
- qi gong and tai chi
A 2007 survey found that 12.7 percent of adults in the United States had used deep-breathing exercises, 9.4 percent had practiced meditation, and 6.1 percent had practiced yoga.
In order to gain the greatest benefit from Mind-Body practices:
- Schedule time daily
- Practice daily
- Practice relaxation techniques before meals
- Find a comfortable, quite place
- Avoid interruptions or outside distractions
Consider also the physical aspects of your daily life that can improve your health and well-being:
- Weight management
- Nutrition/Mindful eating
- Avoidance of environmental toxins
- Reduction or avoidance of Caffeine, Alcohol and Tobacco
Formal Mind-Body programs for infertility typically incorporate relaxation methods, stress management, life style changes, self-nurturing skills and group support. The techniques used in Mind-Body Medicine can help the body and mind work together.
Given the potential for Mind-Body practices to have a positive effect on quality of life and psychological well-being, it makes sense to use these practices in an effort toward resolving infertility while enhancing health – both physical and mental.
If you are interested in finding out more about Mind-Body practices or joining a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Class (MBSR), please ask us for a referral.