Practices like yoga, meditation and prayer can help curb the need for general healthcare services by almost 50 percent according to researchers.
A study done by Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)’s Institute for Technology Assessment and the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) reveals that evoking the relaxation response or a physiologic state of deep rest, helps alleviate stress and anxiety, while also affecting heart rate and blood pressure.
“Our study’s primary finding is that programs that train patients to elicit the relaxation response — specifically those taught at the BHI — can also dramatically reduce health care utilization,” said James E. Stahl of the MGH.
“These programs promote wellness and, in our environment of constrained health care resources, could potentially ease the burden on our health delivery systems at minimal cost and at no real risk,” he added.
By doing a comparative analysis of information available on Research Patient Data Registry (RPDR) of Partners HealthCare and data on individuals participating in the BHI Relaxation Response Resiliency Program (3RP) from 2006 to 2014, researchers came to the conclusion that practitioners of yoga/ meditation/ prayer spent significantly lower than non-practitioners, on medical services.
The study also found that practitioners primarily benefitted from neurologic, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal ailments.