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Effects of Relaxation and Stress on the Capsaicin-Induced Local Inflammatory Response
Researchers at the University of Iowa studied how 3 conditions: stress, relaxation and a control condition, can affect an inflammatory response artificially induced by injecting capsaicin, the pungent compound in chili peppers, under the skin. 50 subjects – 28 men and 22 women – were pre-trained in relaxation, using an imagery-based relaxation tape, and then randomized to one of the experimental groups – a 20-minute stress test, a relaxation tape or a video control, followed by a capsaicin injection in the forearm.
Digitized measurements of flare were taken for 1 hour after the injection, as well as measurements at regular intervals of cardiovascular variables, cortisol, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, and norepinephrine. Investigators found that the size of the maximum capsaicin-induced flare was significantly smaller in the relaxation group than in the stress or control conditions, which appeared about the same. Increases in norepinephrine, heart rate, and systolic blood pressure during the experimental task, but not after capsaicin, significantly predicted size of maximum flare and total area under the curve of flare measurements. The study concludes that stress reduction may well affect local inflammatory processes. Results are consistent with sympathetic modulation of the effects of relaxation on the flare response.
For each and every one of us there are times when we feel, sad, lonely, and wish that our situation was better. This is a natural, normal feeling that we all go through. In fact, it may be just a matter of our biorhythms fluctuating every 90 minutes or so or just helping us balance our life after a period of exhilaration. On the other hand, if these feelings are persistent and so severe as to prevent you from participating in normal relationships and regular activities, just possibly you may have chronic depression and need assistance.
Here’s what you should be looking for if you think...
Something happens that should not have bothered you. You see a car accident, hear a loud noise, or even possibly nothing at all occurs other than you just finished a cup of coffee. However, your body is reacting as if you have received a threat to your life. Your heart is racing, you breathing quickens, and you feel that you are just about to have a heart attack. Yet, you absolutely know that your reaction is illogical and should have never happened. You are having a panic attack.
Experts tend to agree that panic attacks generally occur because deep in your brain you have been programmed...
Let’s face it. Each and everyday we are faced with challenges to which we must adapt. They may involve threats to our survival, obstacles standing in the way of our desire to become happier, or even represent an urge to take one’s musicianship or golf game to the next level. For most of us, our ability to make minor adjustments to our way of thinking does not present much of a difficulty. For others, no matter how hard we try, we just don’t seem to make much progress. In fact, often our efforts seem to make matters worse.
A common question that I often hear is whether self-help efforts...