Yoga for Stress and Back Pain

Most people who work don’t need anyone to tell them that the environment can be stressful. Having to deal with rude customers and a boss that is breathing behind your neck and constantly critiquing you can certainly raise your anxiety levels. Depending on the environment, work can also be bad for your posture. If you work at an office cubicle and sit behind a desk and pound away at a keyboard all day, then your back is going to ache.

While there are all sorts of recommendations for relieving stress in the workplace, one study found that yoga is a good remedy for reducing anxiety and can also combat back pain. The study consisted of 74 workers between the ages of 25 to 64 who reported on a questionnaire that they experience moderate levels of stress and backaches. The participants were divided into two groups, one of which practiced yoga for eight weeks.

The yoga group took a yoga class during their lunch break or right after work once a week. Every participant was asked about their overall well-being after the study. When the research began, 10 in the yoga group reported back pain, compared to eight for the no yoga group. When the study concluded, only four in the yoga group reported back aches, while the number of those with back pain in the control group increased to 13. The yoga group also reported less stress and anxiety than the control group by the end of the study.

While the study definitely provides strong evidence that yoga is a strong stress and back pain reliever, researchers admit that the yoga group may simply feel less stress due to the placebo effect. The majority of the participants were also women, which means that it may not be applicable to men.

Unsafe Sex May be Safer for Your Mental Health

We’ve all heard the reasons to have safe sex, but what about unsafe sex? Aside from getting pregnant (which in many cases is a good thing, being that humans don’t last forever and must reproduce) possibly catching your favorite local STD, and being more fun, having sex without a condom is good for your mental health, according to some Scottish guy named Stuart Brody. It turns out he’s a professor, too, at West of Scotland University. (It’s actually in Scotland as far as I know and not west of it, as the Atlantic is west of Scotland, and I don’t know of any ocean-based Universities.) Barring the possibility that he actually said something completely different and people just couldn’t decode his Scottish accent, he claims the converse as well. Namely, that heterosexual sex with a condom is associated with poorer mental health, problems dealing with stress and even conditions such as depression.

rubbersThe claims were immediately criticized by sexual health campaigners, who warned that unsafe sex leads to unwanted pregnancies and diseases. Well, they’re probably right, hence the term “unsafe sex.”

You see, there’s a bit of a miscommunication here, at least from my point of view. I seriously doubt that Professor Brody is outwardly advocating rampant unprotected sex just because it improves mental health, at the risk of contracting HIV or Penicillin Resistant Gonorrhea. Though I have not interviewed the man myself, I’m willing to bet he doesn’t want a chlamydia-infested populace that, thankfully, has perfect mental health and establishes a state-of-the-art organic farming industry with the proceeds from money saved on condoms. On a hunch, I’m assuming that he’s saying when you can and it’s safe, use some other method of birth control instead of condoms. Or, better yet, get married and just have kids. Condoms aren’t really good for that sort of thing anyway.

Brody believes that mankind is biologically programmed to enjoy unprotected sex because it gives couples an evolutionary advantage and maximizes the chances of reproducing. A little evolutionary psychology for you.

“Evolution is not politically correct,” says Brody, “so of the very broad range of potential sexual behavior, there is actually only one that is consistently associated with better physical and mental health and that is the one sexual behavior that would be favored by evolution. That is not accidental.”

Brody based his conclusions on a study of the sexual behavior of 99 women and 111 men in Portugal. They filled in questionnaires about the quality of their sex lives and what kind of contraception they used.

“The more often people are using condoms independent of age, independent of the nature of their relationship, the greater use of immature defense mechanisms against stress,” Brody said.

There is only one conclusion. A class action lawsuit must immediately be launched against evolution. You file the papers.

Divorce May Lead to Heart Disease

Divorce Dictionary

Apparently, divorce can be bad for your health. So can being widowed. So says Linda Waite, a sociologist at the University of Chicago. Leave it to sociologists to make such amazingly innovative observations.

But here’s the data she found. Divorced and widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer than married people. They even have 23 percent more limitations on their movements, like walking, climbing nonfunctional escalators (or stairs), or doing ballet. Ha ha, that last one was not part of the survey, but I’m guessing it’s true anyway. In all seriousness, though, her survey included the health of 8,652 middle-aged people with different marital histories. There were big differences between those who stayed married and those who divorced.

Though it’s obvious that divorce is just a bit stressful, Waite found that people who remarried still retain the scars of the damage done by the original divorce.

In the surveys, health was assessed in four categories. They are chronic conditions, mobility, symptoms of depression, and what respondents thought of their own state of health.

Here are some more sociological observations Waite made: (Warning: the self-evidence of these may cause temporary blurring of vision.) “Married men have better health habits. They lead a cleaner, healthier life, and less times in bars and eat better. Women tend to manage men’s interactions with the medical system, get him in for a colonoscopy and make sure he gets a flu shot.”

Now that we know, and with Swine Flu on the rise, it’s more important than ever to grab a wife, hold her down, and make her force you go to a proctologist immediately.

Mark Heyward, another sociologist at the University of Texas, found in a similar study that divorce has a lasting impact on cardiovascular disease, even after remarriage, by as much as 60 percent.

Even so, we’ll go out on a limb and make the claim that being stuck in a miserable marriage can also be bad for your arteries. So the best advice is, if your marriage is just boring and you need to revitalize it, try doing that instead of getting divorced. It’ll save you on medical bills and keep your arteries nice and smooth. If you really hate each other’s guts, then you can get out of it if you need to.

Picture a divorce as a guy with a jackhammer drumming on your cardiovascular system as you sit in divorce proceedings and discuss dividing property, visitation rights with kids, and other things that may make you choke. Your system, says Heyward, may never go back to original condition after that.

Something not so obvious is that those who never married are usually better off than people who married, lost a spouse through divorce or death, and didn’t get remarried. I remember seeing 40-year-old cousins of my wife who have never been married looking just a few years older than me, and I’m 25. Though I think that’s more of a function of not having kids and not having to deal with changing soiled diapers several times a day. I’m think that could add decades to your lifespan, at least.

Antidepressant to end Financial Woes

Once in a while you don’t have a choice and you actually have to read the spam that comes in to your Inbox. This is a new one and really a sign of the times:

Stock Index is constantly on the course down, many solid banks are on the edge of bankruptcy, Wall Street is down in panic, WHAT SHALL WE DO?!!!

Just keep in mind that emotional stress would not help your health and take an antidepressant from our store, now twice as cheap as in any other one.

P.S And let the crisis help himself!