From Meditation to Yoga, Mind-Body Ways of ‘Feeling Vibrant’ with Fibromyalgia: A Specialist’s View

From Meditation to Yoga, Mind-Body Ways of ‘Feeling Vibrant’ with Fibromyalgia: A Specialist’s View
Rachel,  one of my yoga students, came to me for some wellness counseling in 2015. She was experiencing extreme fatigue upon waking up, muscle pain and insomnia, all which were severely impacting her quality of life. At 28, diagnosed with fibromyalgia (FM), she felt frustrated that day-to-day activities were so draining on her energy. I felt for her. I wanted her to feel vibrant and available to participate fully in her life. My years of exploring wellness interventions and protocols supported the hypothesis that FM is a multi-system condition that requires a holistic interpretation of treatment. I knew that paying attention and incorporating methods to help reduce stress, decrease inflammation, and  balance hormones were essential components in shifting her experience. I recently read a research article illuminating the role of cortisol, a stress response hormone,  in individuals with FM. Many fibromyalgia patients have experienced a traumatic or high-stress related event either prior to or around the onset of symptoms, and changes in neuroendocrine activity have been reported in some cases. When cortisol levels go too high or too low, problems with pain, sleep, cognitive function, mood and fatigue are prevalent. In my previous column, I addressed nutrition interventions that help with FM symptoms, but nutrition isn’t enough with this disease. Addressing and managing stress is key. So many of FM’s symptoms stem from hijacked circadian rhythms born out of a nervous system that is almost always in a “fight or flight” loop. As I continue to work in this field, I am more and more convinced that physical and psychological pain are connected, and are not mutually exclusive of one another. We must treat the whole system to heal. Below are so
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