Stress Management Reduces Medical Visits
In October 2015, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, published an in-depth retrospective comparison of billable encounters per year for 4,452 people who participated in relaxation response and resiliency training, which included yoga, meditation and focused breathing. The control group consisted of 13,149 patients. Poor psychological and physical response to stress affects mental and physical health, illness and disease management. Managing stress is critical to maintaining health. The mind-body methods used in this study had previously been determined to reduce stress. The purpose of the study was to see if these methods would also reduce the number of medical visits and tests that constitute billable procedures. Participants were matched by the extent of their health care utilization and all demographics. After one year, the total utilization of health care by the people who participated in a stress management program decreased by an astounding 43 percent. The researchers estimated that stress reduction practices could potentially reduce an individual’s health care costs by between $640 and $60,200 a year. These findings are highly relevant in a modern health care system that is shifting from the specialized care of late-stage diseases to a patient-centered approach involving self- and preventive care. As health and wellness become increasingly valued, many people have already discovered the benefits of stress management practices. In 2012, a National Health Interview Survey determined that 8 percent of Americans had used meditation, 11 percent used deep breathing and 8.7 percent had practiced yoga. These figures are much higher today. Due to the minimal risks and substantial financial and health advantages, the researchers recommended that mind-body practices be taught to all at-risk populations. They also concluded that mind-body interventions, such as yoga, focused breathing and meditation have the potential to substantially reduce health care utilization at relatively low cost and thus can serve as key components in any population or health management system.
Age Without Limits Includes these Stress Reducing Practices:
- Focused breathing
Start reducing your medical visits by practicing these healing techniques.
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