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IL 6It looks like you can add one more health benefit to yoga’s long list. This one is about reducing inflammation, a firey condition that arises from stress and other factors and makes us vulnerable to diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s. and many others. (Thanks to blog sistah Stacie Stukin for her heads-up on this.)

This particular yoga study, done at Ohio State University and published in , showed that women who practiced relaxing, restorative yoga regularly (at least twice a week) had a lower level of the cytokine (a substance secreted by immune system cells)  (IL-6) in their blood, a key culprit in instigating inflammation. It also found that those women maintained a lower level of IL-6 when exposed to stressful situations. (The image at left of the red curls is a graphic representation of IL-6–say “cheese,” little cytokine!)

Since yoga has so many elements–breathing, stretching, paying attention–it’s hard to know which parts we can extract and apply to reducing stress outside of yoga for non-yogis. But this study does underline the fact that stress has a tangible, immediate impact on our blood, bodies, and lives. The good news being that it is possible to reduce its impact just as tangibly. 

What do you do to reduce stress?

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