Researchers have developed new sensors embedded in T-shirts and face masks to track heart rate and ammonia content.

An article about the new development was published in the journal Materials Today.

Potential applications range from monitoring exercise, sleep and stress to diagnosing and monitoring diseases by breathing and vital signs.

Made from a newly developed conductive cotton-based filament called PECOTEX, the sensors are inexpensive. For as little as $0.15, a meter of thread can be made to seamlessly integrate more than a dozen sensors into clothing, and PECOTEX is compatible with standard computer embroidery machines.

The research team sewed the sensors into a face mask to monitor breathing, a T-shirt to monitor heart activity and a textile to monitor gases such as ammonia, a breathing component that can be used to track liver and kidney function. 

Wearable sensors, such as those on smartwatches, allow for continuous monitoring of health and well-being in a noninvasive way. Until now, however, there have been no suitable conductive strands, which explains why wearable sensors that can be easily integrated into clothing are not yet widespread.

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World Heart Day 2022: Panic attack may seem like a heart attack at times as it shares some of its symptoms with heart attack be it chest pain, increase in heart rate or shortness of breath. However, one can differentiate between the two keeping in mind the location of pain and the duration of symptoms. Experts say patient must be given immediate medical attention as one can never be sure if it isn't a heart attack. (Also read: World Heart Day 2022: Foods to eat and avoid for better heart health)

The cases of both heart attack and panic attack are increasing in the wake of Covid pandemic as weakening of heart muscles and anxiety issues are becoming common post Covid. In such situations symptoms like shortness of breath, pain in chest, nausea, palpitations could make one confused if they are suffering from a heart attack or panic attack.

"We as doctors, all agree fervently that one should not take a chance of it not being a heart attack. And the reason is simple; sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference," says Dr Atul Mathur, Executive Director – Interventional Cardiology & Chief of Cath Lab, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla road, New Delhi.

"Panic attacks occur when stress hormones trigger the body's "fight or flight" response, often resulting in fast heartbeats, tightness in chest, chest pain and breathlessness. In the case of a heart attack, a blockage in a coronary artery may show the same symptoms. Chest pain, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath may be a result of insufficient amount of blood reaching the heart muscle, says Dr Dhaval Naik, Heart Transplant Surgeon, Marengo CIMS Hospital.

"A panic attack patient might have some factors like anxiety or stress related to family/job where is the heart attack patients usually tend not to have this kind of stress, they are more often seen in panic attacks," says Dr Sunil Kumar Wadhwa, Principal Consultant Cardiology, Max Hospital Gurugram.

WHAT IS A HEART ATTACK

Dr. Atul Mathur says heart attacks can be sudden and intense, but mostly start slowly, with mild chest pain or discomfort which progressively worsens over few minutes. Dr Mathur says these episodes might come and go several times before actual intensive heart attack occurs.

"When blood flow to the heart muscles is reduced severely or completely obstructed, it results in heart attack. The typical symptoms are chest discomfort beneath the breastbone, discomfort radiating to the neck, jaw, or upper arm, shortness of breath, light headedness, fatigue, feeling of doom or dying, nausea, palpitations and sweating. Risk factors of the heart attack are diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and sedentary lifestyle," says Dr Mathur.

WHAT IS A PANIC ATTACK

Dr Mathur says that if the medical workup shows that you have a healthy heart, then you might be experiencing a panic attack – this is especially if the person is having intense fear, which is the hallmark symptom.

"Panic attack is the flight or fright response, an alarm system that has gone haywire. These attacks come fast and generally peak in intensity in about 10 minutes. Also the attacks are triggered by a traumatic events or major stress in life; in some conditions it may happen without any apparent reason," says Dr Mathur.

"The symptoms can be intense fear and racing thoughts, feeling of losing control, fear of dying, feeling of detachment from surroundings, racing heart or palpitations, chest discomfort, choking sensation, nausea, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, numbness or tingling, feeling hot or cold, dizziness or light headedness," adds the cardiologist.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEART ATTACK AND PANIC ATTACK

In heart attack, the pain is classically felt below breastbone as a dull pressure. It may radiate up to neck and jaw or down the left arm.

"It is a vague pain and one cannot specifically locate with the tip of finger. If you are able to localise the pain with finger it is unlikely to be from the heart.

Panic attacks, on the other hand, may cause chest pain with a sharp or stabbing sensation, or a choking sensation in the throat. One should however 'never ignore chest pain'," says Dr Mathur.

Dr Wadhwa says both the patients of panic attacks as well as heart attacks can have difficulty in breathing but it is seen that patients with panic attacks over-breathe where is the patient of heart attack do not over-breathe.

"Patients with panic attacks can have cold sweats like sweating on the palm or sweating in sole of their feet Which is less common in case of heart attack patients. A patient with heart attacks may have some associated symptoms like vomiting, whereas the patients of panic attacks may have shaky hands because they are constantly under stress," adds Dr Wadhwa.

"One of the key differences between these two conditions is that a heart attack often develops during physical exertion, whereas a panic attack can occur at rest. A heart attack is more likely to develop when the workload of the heart increases, for example while a person is exercising or gymming or running up the stairs, more in people who do not engage in physical exertion on a daily basis. Panic attacks can start randomly or be triggered by psychological distress. For example, some people experience panic attacks suddenly, and others may have panic attack symptoms when faced with a phobia, like claustrophobia or a fear of heights or when a person is deeply shocked by something," says Dr Naik.

Here are other differences between heart attack and panic attack according to Dr Mathur:

ASSOCIATED SYMPTOMS

Heart attacks may also be accompanied by fatigue, fainting, or loss of consciousness. Panic attacks, on the other hand, are characterized by racing heart, racing thoughts, trembling, tingling or numbness, and a choking sensation.

DURATION OF SYMPTOMS

Heart pain lasts longer than few minutes and may come and go. It may be brought on or worsened by physical exertion. During a panic attack, on the other hand, symptoms typically peak in intensity after about 10 minutes, and subside after half an hour.

TRIGGERS

Any chest discomfort that is triggered by exertion should not be taken lightly and immediate physician consultation should be sorted out. Panic attacks can start randomly or be triggered by psychological distress. For example, some people experience panic attacks out of the blue and others may have panic attack symptoms when faced with a phobia, like claustrophobia or a fear of heights.

PREVENTION

Dr. Ashish Jai Kishan, Consultant, Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute shares prevention tips for heart attack and panic attack.

Prevention of heart attack includes controlling risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, avoiding cigarette smoking and alcohol, eating a healthy diet, and living an active lifestyle.

Prevention of panic attack includes controlling of stress and anxiety, introducing exercise, and medications. Attention needs to be given to the mental health.

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Every year, World Lung Day is celebrated on September 25 to advocate lung health and spread awareness. Lung disease is any problem that arises in the lungs and prevents it from working properly. Lung disease is divided into three main types - airway diseases, lung tissue diseases and lung circulation diseases.

The lungs, just like any other part of your body, age with time and that's why they need extra attention and care. People don't understand the importance of healthy lungs until they experience a breathing problem. After the Covid-19 pandemic took over the world, millions across the globe showed signs of weak lungs and reported breathing issues.

In 2022, it's crucial that we look after the health of our lungs and take precaution against harmful diseases that can make our breathing difficult. After all, the lungs are a crucial part of the respiratory system as they carry oxygen from the air and pump it through the body's airways and air sacs. The oxygen is then absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the heart via the blood vessels.

Understanding the three main types of lung disease:

Airway Diseases

These harmful diseases impact the tubes that carry oxygen, making it difficult for people to breathe.

Lung Tissue Diseases
These diseases affect the structure of the lung tissue, which then makes it difficult for the lungs to function properly and diffuse oxygen from the airways into the bloodstream.

Lung Circulation Diseases

This type of disease impacts the blood vessels in the lungs. These diseases affect the way blood flows from the heart to the rest of the body.

Most Common Lung Diseases:

Most common lung diseases emerge from one or more of these three main types. Here are the most common lung diseases:

Asthma

Millions of people across the country suffer from asthma and have difficult breathing. Though there's no cure for this disease, the person can lead a healthy and normal life with the help of right treatment and managing the asthma.

The disease can be managed by working with a healthcare provider to develop a plan to keep your asthma under control by understanding your trigger and learning of simple ways to limit your exposure, understanding your medication, learning self-management skills and more.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
This disease includes Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema and is a long-term lung disease that makes it hard to breathe but is often preventable and treatable.

Bronchitis

Most commonly referred to as bronchitis, acute bronchitis is a lower respiratory infection that impacts the air tubes of the lungs and usually comes on suddenly and can last for a week to 10 days.

Tips To Prevent Lung Diseases:

Stop smoking as it increases your risk of lung cancer. According to several reports, smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.

Exercise. Getting a regular workout will really help your health. It will not only make you fitter but also improve your overall health. When you workout, your heart beats faster and your lungs work harder.

Get some fresh air. It's no secret that we are exposed to pollutants on a daily basis. So give your lungs the much needed break and reduce the exposure to harmful air by making your home smoke-free zone, dusting your furniture, improving the indoor air ventilation by opening a window, avoid synthetic air fresheners, candles, and wear a good mask when you go outside.

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The specialists agreed that stress influences all spheres of life, including sexual (Getty)
The specialists agreed that stress influences all spheres of life, including sexual (Getty)

To the fast pace of life, work obligations and tight daily routines, the COVID-19 pandemic has added anxiety, fear, uncertainty and a global traumatic situation that will undoubtedly raised stress levels in societyin some cases, to its maximum point.

And it is well known that when stress ceases to be a punctual reaction and becomes a chronic situation, it has multiple consequences in the physical and mental health.

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and a weakened immune system, and can even contribute to the development of certain pathologies, such as heart disease, depression, and obesity.

And although most people may not know it, stress can even affect the pelvic floor, that is, the group of muscles and other tissues that form a kind of sling or hammock across the pelvis. In women, this “floor” holds the uterus, bladder, intestines, and other pelvic organs in place so they can function properly.

Although most people may not know it, stress can even affect the pelvic floor (Getty)
Although most people may not know it, stress can even affect the pelvic floor (Getty)

Now, various investigations show that the pelvic floor muscles actively contract in response to physical or mental stress, generating consequences in people’s daily lives and even in their sexuality.

Rachel Gelman is a physiotherapist specialized in pelvic floor and assured that “it is common that when people feel tense or nervous they tend to tighten the gluteal muscles, and although it is a normal response, when it is caused by chronic stress, it can cause all kinds of pelvic floor disorders. In this way, according to the specialist, “diverse consequences can appear that range from pain during sexual intercourse, pelvic organ prolapse or lumbar pain to bladder dysfunction and constipation.”

And while stress may never have been linked to those consequences, according to Caroline Correiadirector of Fisiofit Mujer, a Spanish physiotherapy clinic dedicated to women’s health, “stress alters the postural and respiratory patternwhich leads to an alteration in the musculature of the diaphragm”.

Specifically, this usually remains more tense, favoring the increase in intra-abdominal pressure and the downward thrust of the abdominal viscera. In this way, the pelvic floor muscles are forced to contract to counteract the increased pressure and ensure urinary continence. All this process of pelvic floor contraction over time will lead to the formation of trigger points, which are basically pain points.

The group of muscles that holds the uterus, bladder, intestines, and other pelvic organs in place can contract just like any other (Getty)
The group of muscles that holds the uterus, bladder, intestines, and other pelvic organs in place can contract just like any other (Getty)

“Most of the time they are the cause of pain during sexual intercourse, back problems, pain that radiates to the leg or discomfort during the period,” Gelman pointed out. In addition to these problems, a constant contraction of the pelvic muscles can lead to muscle fatigue, favoring the appearance of the dreaded urinary incontinence”.

consulted by Infobaethe gynecologist Marisa Labovsky (MN 84376) explained that “the pelvic floor is made up of muscles and the muscles contract like any other in the bodyTherefore, when one is stressed, everything contracts”.

“On the other hand, when you are stressed you have less desire to have sex and sometimes you have sex just the same, so when the muscles are contracted, the area is not well lubricated and that causes discomfort and burning, and a vicious circle is generated in the one that when the person knows that they are going to have sex, they think that it will hurt and therefore they contract and when they contract it obviously hurts and so on”, the gynecologist deepened.

Along the same lines, according to a study by the University of Örebro, in Sweden, only among women under 30 years of age, around 20% report recurrent sexual pain. This pain, in addition, causes fear of sexual relations and, therefore, the avoidance of them. In this way, according to this work, “women with pain reported higher levels of fear avoidance and pain catastrophizing, as well as depression and anxiety.” A situation that does nothing but maintain the stress and the underlying cause of the pain itself.

Chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and a weakened immune system (Getty)
Chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and a weakened immune system (Getty)

In her turn, the gynecologist Gabriela Kosoy (MN 70409), said before the consultation of this medium that “obviously stress influences all spheres of life, including sexuality.” “It alters the microbiota, so it can cause constipation,” explained the specialist. The pelvic floor has a very precise innervationso everything that alters the nervous system can alter its structure”.

Regarding the variety of symptoms involved, Labovsky argued that “the pelvic floor is full of muscles, and if they contract, it makes intercourse difficult, going from body to body, etc. because the entire pelvic floor involves the anal, vaginal and urethral orifice.”

“Doing relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing and pelvic floor exercises will surely help" (Getty)
“Doing relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing and pelvic floor exercises will surely help” (Getty)

The first step, according to specialists, is to identify that the symptoms may be due to a situation of stress and not to any other problem.

“The key is precisely to rule out other possible causes,” said Correira, for whom “a very similar case is that of chronic constipation. There are many women who have a correct diet, adequate water intake and exercise regularly, but still suffer from constipation. The answer would be the level of stress.”

In the case of the pelvic floor, “we should rule out that the pain is due to a physical cause. For example, having gone through childbirth or having suffered some type of injury or infection in the area, added Gelman. If we do not find another apparent cause and we know that we are going through a long stage of stress, perhaps we should first try to work on it”.

In that sense, the physical therapist recommended “obvious things like spending time outdoors, doing gentle exercises like yoga and dancing, writing, spending time with friends, masturbating or, of course, going to therapy can be of great help.”

Functional improvements in breathing patterns and pelvic stability could indirectly influence changes in the pelvic floor (Getty)
Functional improvements in breathing patterns and pelvic stability could indirectly influence changes in the pelvic floor (Getty)

Do relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing and pelvic floor exercises will surely help, as well as being able to see what is the cause of stress and be able to solve it,” added Labovsky, while Kosoy added: “Anything that is breathing exercises, mindfulness, yoga of course that by improving stress will improve the symptom.”

On the other hand, there are also specific exercises to relieve stress on a more physical level. Correia recommended breathing mindfully for at least a minute. “Something so simple helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for lowering stress levels,” she pointed out.

It should be remembered that there is a relationship between respiratory and postural function with the pelvic floor. According to some studies, functional improvements in breathing patterns and pelvic stability could indirectly affect the changes produced in the pelvic floor, even in the case of symptoms such as urinary incontinence. In addition, some stretching could also be useful to favor the relationship of the diaphragmatic muscles. “Such as stretching that favors hip opening, psoas stretching and quadratus lumborum”, Correira adds.

"Everything that is breathing exercises, mindfulness, yoga of course that by improving stress will improve the symptom" (Getty)
“Anything that is breathing exercises, mindfulness, yoga of course that by improving stress will improve the symptom” (Getty)

At this point, in dialogue with Infobaethe national teacher of Physical Education Mariela Catania contributed a exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

“Lying on your back, with your legs bent, and feet supported, we place our hands on our belly and contract the pelvic floor. We have to feel how the sphincters close, how we raise the pelvic organs and how the lower abdomen tightens, ”she described.

And he continued: “Now we are going to contract the deep abdominal plane -transversus abdominis- without losing the pelvic floor. The contraction should be smooth. We breathe inhaling in two beats inflating the belly with air and exhale slowly in four beats. We repeat six to ten times and relax. We contract the pelvic floor, contract the inner abdomen, hold and relax.”

KEEP READING

At what age stress peaks and why

5 physical exercises to relieve anxiety and reduce stress

Anxiety, stress or phobia? A guide to identify them and recognize their most common symptoms

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  • A type of breath training can reduce blood pressure in just five minutes a day, new research suggests.
  • A device that trains respiratory muscles was found to be as effective as medication and weight loss.
  • Breath training can have quick results, but doesn't replace other healthy habits, researcher says. 

Just 30 deep breaths a day with a special device could treat or prevent high blood pressure as effectively as medication and weight loss, new research suggests.

A five minute breathing workout helps reduce blood pressure and improve heart health, potentially benefiting people of all ages and lifestyles, according to a study published September 15 in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Arizona conducted tests with a total of 128 healthy adults, aged 18 to 82, who performed breathing exercises for six weeks.

Participants used a hand-held device, similar to an inhaler, for about five to 10 minutes per day, taking 30 deep breaths as the machine provided resistance, so respiratory muscles had to work harder to inhale. 

Within two weeks, researchers started to notice improvements in participants' blood pressure, with only mild, temporary muscle soreness or lightheadedness as side effects. By the end of the trial, they saw an average reduction of 9 mmHg in systolic blood pressure. 

The results are as effective as medication, possibly more effective than lifestyle changes like reducing sodium or losing weight, and could continue to improve over time, according to Daniel Craighead, lead author of the study and assistant research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

"People can expect fairly rapid results," he told Insider. "We would expect that if you went longer, blood pressure would go down even more."

The researchers were also surprised to find that the training seemed to benefit not just people who needed to reduce their blood pressure, but also young, healthy participants. 

"What's really exciting about this is that it's helpful for a wide range of adults. People with blood pressure at an unhealthy level could stand to benefit from adding this to their routine now," Craighead said. "But someone could start in their thirties and stick to it for years to help delay or prevent hypertension."

Resisted breathing could be a short cut to health benefits, but doesn't replace exercise

Medical interest in breath exercise isn't new. Slow, deep breathing is associated with benefits like stress relief, better sleep, healthier blood pressure, and improved mental health. 

But resistance training for your breath could allow you to get more benefits in much less time, similar to how lifting heavy weights can boost strength gains, Craighead said.

And unlike other treatments for high blood pressure like medication or traditional exercise, the benefits of breath training could linger even after participants stop treatment, he added. 

The research found when participants tried the training for six weeks, stopped for six weeks, and then re-tested, their blood pressure remained almost as low as right after the training period. Craighead said the research team is now exploring whether a shorter "maintenance dose" of training could help extend the benefits even more, with minimal time and effort. 

They're also working on ways to help more people benefit from the technique. The lab trials used a $500 device, but Craighead said a cheaper, simpler version is commercially available now, and researchers are working on an app to train people to use it effectively.

Still, it's not a replacement for other healthy habits. Regular exercise and good nutrition are important for maintaining muscle mass and keeping cholesterol low to prevent chronic illness long-term, according to Craighead.

"It's not a magic bullet for overall cardiovascular health, so people shouldn't stop doing other forms of exercise," he said. 

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Have you ever taken the time to figure out what you do with all the minutes in your day? If you are like me, you wonder where they go and why they go by so fast. What if I told you that spending just six minutes each day could dramatically reduce pain in your life and help you to feel calm and relaxed?

Did you know that over 25 million adults suffer daily with pain? Are you one of them? It could be joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia or nerve pain, to name a few. We are a nation full of pain sufferers, and relief for many is found in the form of over-the-counter and prescription pain medicine.

Dangers of Painkillers

Many types of chronic pain are inflammatory in nature. To combat this, some people use anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), both prescription and over the counter, to relieve it. While these drugs do not possess the addictive nature of opioids, they do carry some potentially dangerous risks.

In the case of all NSAID drugs, the most common side effect is gastrointestinal tract damage. According to Dr. Byron Cryer of the American Gastroenterological Association, over half of all bleeding ulcer instances can be traced back to NSAID use. Other side effects of NSAIDs include severe allergic reactions, kidney damage, and high blood pressure.

Many people who experience chronic pain are prescribed opioid painkillers by doctors. These are a popular option because this class of drug is very potent, and may temporarily eradicate many types of pain. However, these drugs come with a substantial cost in the form of some extremely nasty concerns and side effects.

The primary reason one may want to avoid opioids is their high potential for addiction. Opioid addiction is an epidemic in our nation. The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control reported that approximately 2.1 million people in the United States alone abused prescription opioid drugs in 2012.

Opioids also carry a high risk of overdose. The CDC reports that in 2010, just under 17,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. That’s more deaths than from heroin and cocaine put together.

Aside from the frightening risks of addiction and overdose, opioid drugs are accompanied by a lot of potential side effects. One includes slow, shallow breathing, which can lead to death in the case of overdose. Other side effects include irregular heart rhythms, drowsiness, sleep disorders, digestive issues, lowered sex drive, osteoporosis (when taken long term) and tooth decay. It can even cause hyperalgesia, an instance where taking opioids leads to more pain, not less.

Do You Have Six Minutes a Day to Spare?

I hope that your answer to this question is an inequitable, yes! If you can manage to carve out just 2 minutes each morning, midday and evening, you may well be on your way to pain relief, and relaxation like you have never experienced before.

This is Something Most People Don’t Do Well

Breathing sustains life, breathing correctly revitalizes and can improve the quality of life while minimizing pain and maximizing relaxation. Most people don’t take the time to think about breathing; it is just one of those things that happen, all on its own. While this is true – taking the time to breathe correctly, even for six short minutes each day, can make a world of difference to your health.

Belly breathing or “diaphragmatic breathing,” is the ancient practice of breathing in which we can actually control our mind and body. According to the London Pain Clinic, diaphragmatic breathing is known as the act of breathing deeply into the lungs by flexing the diaphragm, not the rib cage which results in shallow breathing. As noted in the name belly breathing, when you breathe deeply there is an expansion of the stomach, not the chest.

Even taking the time to breathe deeply for six minutes each day can make a tremendous difference in your health.
Here are just five reasons why we should all belly breathe daily.

Belly Breathing Alleviates Pain

Do you notice that your pain increases when you are under stress? Belly breathing is the perfect answer to reducing the stress in your life that may be causing pain flare-ups. Deep breathing alters your psychological state and makes pain diminish in intensity.

Did you know that your brain is capable of making its own morphinelike pain relievers that are called endorphins and enkephalins? These hormones promote happy and positive feelings that can transmit messages to “stop the pain” through the body. Breathing deeply also oxygenates the blood, triggers the release of endorphins and decreases stress hormones which slow the heart rate.

Belly Breathing Improves Respiration

If you have ever watched an infant or a dog or cat breathe, you would notice something interesting. There is a tremendous amount of 3-dimensional expansive movements around the body – especially the abdomen. As we age, we become less likely to breathe expansively or efficiently. We grow stressed, wear tight-fitting clothing and live a lifestyle that pushes breathing to the bottom of the priority list because it “just happens.”

Our cells suffer when we breathe shallowly. They are not able to get the nutrients they need, and this can cause things like fatigue, brain fog, and even longterm illness and chronic pain.

On the other hand, deep breathing profits the entire body because of improved respiration and nutrient uptake.

Belly Breathing Promotes Relaxation

When we are living in a hurried state, like most of us are, we are often in what is known as a “fight or flight” mode. In this gear, we are engaging the sympathetic nervous system.

The only way we can access the autonomic nervous system is through deep breathing. This automatically increases the efficiency of our heart and digestion.

When we choose the relaxation response over the stress response, we can keep anxiety at bay which reduces our risk of stress-related illnesses such as heart disease, depression, digestive disorders and more.

Belly Breathing Improves Posture

Belly breathing encourages you to sit tall. This allows all of your organ systems to work efficiently. Food is easier to digest, your heart works more efficiently, your nerves and blood vessels are less likely to be pinched. This releases hormones that help you feel more confident, causing you to sit even taller.

Belly Breathing Stretches and Strengthens Core Muscles

Core muscles include the abdominals, erector back muscles, diaphragm, and the pelvic floor. When we breathe from our belly, the three-dimensional movement keeps these core muscles in good shape.

How to Belly Breathe

The best way to begin proper breathing is to lie on your back. Take slow, relaxed breaths that fill your entire lungs and expand your belly. Place your hands on your belly to feel the rise and fall. When you can do this easily lying down, try it standing up, it is a lot more difficult! As you progress, a great exercise to strengthen the diaphragm muscle is panting with your tongue stuck out like a dog. Seriously, the rapid motion engages the diaphragm for a quick 10-second breath workout!

To make proper breathing a daily habit, take slow, relaxed breaths for 2–5 minutes several times a day.
Breathing correctly benefits your health in surprising ways. You not only feel more relaxed, but you will have better nutrient absorption, lower blood pressure, and feel more energized. You may even drop a few excess pounds since your body requires a considerable amount of excess oxygen to dispose of fat. With all the benefits of breathing properly, it’s time to make the practice a priority and get started today.

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If you've felt a greater sense of unease lately, you're not alone. Americans are more stressed out today than at any time in recent years.  

We worry about our money, the war in Ukraine, the ongoing threat of disease, political turmoil — these and other societal triggers for anxiety lurk around every corner. 

An annual poll on stress conducted in the spring by the American Psychological Association revealed that an overwhelming number of Americans remain in "survival mode" because of stress related to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing costs for food and other goods, and other societal factors. 

The poll found that more people are leaving their jobs, some are gaining weight because of prolonged inactivity, fewer people are optimistic about their future, and parents fear that their children suffered developmentally from the major disruption of the pandemic.

It's all just ... a lot. How can we cope?

The National Institutes for Mental Health (NIMH) recommends practicing self-care to help manage stress and anxiety. The NIMH explains that in addition to reducing stress, self-care can lower your risk of illness and increase your energy.

There is no right or wrong self-care technique. What's right for you is the habit or ritual that works. Finding out what works might take some time and research.

We reached out to 34 of our favorite healing, mental health and wellness experts and asked them to respond to the question, "What is the single most effective self-care or healing ritual that anyone can try?"



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Experts agree that stress affects all areas of life, including sex (getty).

To the fast-paced life, work commitments and tight daily routines, the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly added anxiety, fear, uncertainty and a global traumatic atmosphere. Raised stress in societyIn some cases, its maximum point.

It is well known that when stress ceases to act on a timely basis and becomes a chronic condition, it has many consequences. Physical and mental health.

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain and a weakened immune system, and can contribute to the development of certain diseases such as heart disease, depression and obesity. .

Although most people don’t know this, Stress can also affect the pelvic floor, that is, a group of muscles and other tissues form a kind of sling or hammock across the pelvis. In women, this “floor” holds the uterus, bladder, intestines and other pelvic organs in place so they can function properly.

Although most people don't know it, stress can also affect the pelvic floor (getty).
Although most people don’t know it, stress can also affect the pelvic floor (getty).

Now, various studies show that the pelvic floor muscles actively contract in response to physical or mental stress, producing effects on people’s daily lives and even their sexuality.

Rachel Gellman Physiotherapist specializing in the pelvic floor, “It is common for people to tighten the gluteal muscles when they feel tense or nervous, and although this is a normal reaction, when caused by chronic stress, it can occur in all kinds of pelvic floor disorders. In this way, according to the expert, “during intercourse A range of effects can occur, ranging from pain, pelvic organ prolapse or pelvic pain to bladder dysfunction and constipation.”

And stress may not be linked to those outcomes, according to Carolyn CorreaDirector of Physiofit Mujer, a Spanish physiotherapy clinic dedicated to women’s health, “Stress changes posture and respiratory systemThis leads to changes in the muscles of the diaphragm.

In particular, it is usually very tense, which favors an increase in intra-abdominal pressure and a downward thrust of the abdominal viscera. In this way, the pelvic floor muscles are forced to contract to resist the increased pressure and ensure urination. All of these processes of pelvic floor compression over time lead to the formation of trigger points, which are basically pain points.

A group of muscles that hold the uterus, bladder, bowels, and other pelvic organs in place contract (tighten) like any other.
A group of muscles that hold the uterus, bladder, bowels, and other pelvic organs in place contract (tighten) like any other.

“Most of the time they’re caused by pain during sex, back problems, leg pain, or menstrual discomfort,” Kelman points out. In addition to these problems, the constant contraction of the pelvic muscles can lead to muscle fatigue, which favors the appearance of the dreaded urinary incontinence.

Consulted by InfobayGynecologists Marissa Labowski (MN 84376) “The pelvic floor is composed of muscles and Muscles contract like anything else in the bodySo, when one is stressed, everything shrinks.

“On the other hand, when you’re stressed, you’re less likely to have sex, and sometimes you’re having sex, so when the muscles contract, the area isn’t lubricated as well, which causes discomfort and burning and a vicious cycle. When you know you’re going to have sex, it hurts. They think it’s going, so they contract, and when they contract it obviously hurts.

In the same way, according to a study by the University of Örebro in Sweden, only about 20% of women under the age of 30 report recurrent sexual pain. This pain, in addition, causes a fear of sexual relations and, therefore, avoiding them. In this way, according to this work, “women with pain reported higher levels of fear avoidance and pain catastrophizing, as well as depression and anxiety.” A situation that does nothing but cause stress and pain.

Chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and a weakened immune system (Getty).
Chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and a weakened immune system (Getty).

His method, gynecologist Gabriela Kosoi (MN 70409), said before this medium’s consultation that “obviously stress affects all areas of life, including sex.” “It changes the microbiota, so it can cause constipation,” explained the expert. The pelvic floor has a very accurate findingSo anything that changes the nervous system changes its structure.

Regarding the various symptoms involved, Labowski argued, “The pelvic floor is full of muscles, and if they contract, it makes intercourse difficult, going from body to body, etc., because the entire pelvic floor includes the anal, vaginal, and urethral openings. .”

“Doing relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing and pelvic floor exercises will definitely help" (hard)
“Relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing and pelvic floor exercises can definitely help” (Getty)

The first step, experts say, is to recognize that the symptoms may be caused by a situation mental stress Not for any other problem.

“The key is to accurately rule out other possible causes,” said Correra, who added, “One such case is chronic constipation. There are many women who suffer from constipation despite a proper diet, adequate water intake and regular exercise. The answer is stress levels.”

In the case of the pelvic floor, “we have to Rule out that the pain is due to a physical cause. For example, after giving birth or suffering from some type of injury or infection, Gelman said. If we don’t find another obvious cause, then if we know we are in a prolonged phase of stress, we should try to fix it first.

In that regard, the physical therapist suggested that “the obvious things like spending time outside, gentle exercises like yoga and dance, writing, spending time with friends, masturbation or, of course, going to therapy can be very helpful.”

Functional improvements in breathing patterns and pelvic stability may indirectly influence changes in the pelvic floor (Getty).
Functional improvements in breathing patterns and pelvic stability may indirectly influence changes in the pelvic floor (Getty).

Do relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing And pelvic floor exercises definitely help, as well as being able to see what’s causing the stress and address it,” added Labovsky, while Kosoy added: “There’s no such thing as breathing exercises, mindfulness, yoga. Improving stress can improve symptoms.”

On the other hand, there are also specific exercises to reduce stress at a higher physical level. Correa recommends holding your breath for at least a minute. “One very simple thing is to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers stress levels,” he said.

It should be remembered that There is a correlation between breathing and postural function with the pelvic floor. According to some studies, functional improvements in dyspnea and pelvic stability may indirectly affect changes in the pelvic floor, even in the case of symptoms such as urinary incontinence. Additionally, certain stretches favor the engagement of the diaphragm muscles. “Hip opener, psoas stretch, and quadratus lumborum-like stretch,” adds Correra.

"Breathing exercises, mindfulness, and yoga can all improve symptoms by improving stress" (hard)
“Anything like breathing exercises, mindfulness, yoga, it will definitely improve the symptom by improving stress” (Getty).

At this point, in conversation with InfobayNational Teacher of Physical Education Mariela Catania Contributed by a Exercise to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

“Lying on your back, bend your legs, support the feet, we put our hands on our stomachs and compress the pelvic floor. We have to feel how the sphincters close, how we lift the pelvic organs and how the abdomen tenses,” he explained.

And he continued: “Now we’re going to contract the deep abdominal floor – the transversus abdominis – without losing the pelvic floor. Compression should be consistent. We inflate the belly and inhale for two beats and slowly exhale for four beats. We repeat six to ten times and rest. We contract the pelvic floor, contract the inner abdomen, hold and relax.”

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Imperial College London press release 

*Videos and images available for download in notes to eds* 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Wearable sensors styled into t-shirts and face masks  

Imperial researchers have embedded new low-cost sensors that monitor breathing, heart rate, and ammonia into t-shirts and face masks. 

Potential applications range from monitoring exercise, sleep, and stress to diagnosing and monitoring disease through breath and vital signs.  

Spun from a new Imperial-developed cotton-based conductive thread called PECOTEX, the sensors cost little to manufacture. Just $0.15 produces a metre of thread to seamlessly integrate more than ten sensors into clothing, and PECOTEX is compatible with industry-standard computerised embroidery machines. 

First author of the research Fahad Alshabouna, PhD candidate at Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, said: “The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. They’re also relatively easy to produce which means we could scale up manufacturing and usher in a new generation of wearables in clothing.” 

The research team embroidered the sensors into a face mask to monitor breathing, a t-shirt to monitor heart activity, and textiles to monitor gases like ammonia, a component of the breath that can be used to track liver and kidney function. The ammonia sensors were developed to test whether gas sensors could also be manufactured using embroidery.  

Fahad added: “We demonstrated applications in monitoring cardiac activity and breathing, and sensing gases. Future potential applications include diagnosing and monitoring disease and treatment, monitoring the body during exercise, sleep, and stress, and use in batteries, heaters, anti-static clothing." 

The research is published today in Materials Today. 

Seamless sensors 

Wearable sensors, like those on smartwatches, let us continuously monitor our health and wellbeing non-invasively. Until now, however, there has been a lack of suitable conductive threads, which explains why wearable sensors seamlessly integrated into in clothing aren’t yet widely available.  

Enter PECOTEX. Developed and spun into sensors by Imperial researchers, the material is machine washable, and is less breakable and more electrically conductive than commercially available silver-based conductive threads, meaning more layers can be added for to create complex types of sensor.[1] 

Lead author Dr Firat Guder, also of the Department of Bioengineering, said: “PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs. It’s readily scalable, meaning we can produce large volumes inexpensively using both domestic and industrial computerised embroidery machines. 

“Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing. By monitoring breathing, heart rate, and gases, they can already be seamlessly integrated, and might even be able to help diagnose and monitor treatments of disease in the future.” 

Next, the researchers will explore new application areas like energy storage, energy harvesting and biochemical sensing, as well as finding partners for commercialisation. 

This study was funded by the Saudi Ministry of Education, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of the UKRI), Cytiva, Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Army. 

For more information contact: 

Caroline Brogan  

 

Senior Media Officer (Engineering)  

 

Email: [email protected]  

 

Tel: +44(0)20 7594 3415  

 

Out of hours duty media officer: +44 (0)7803 886 248  

NOTES TO EDITORS 

  1. The researchers tested the sensors against commercially available silver-based conductive threads during and after they were embroidered into clothing. During embroidery, PECOTEX was more reliable and less likely to break, allowing for more layers to be embroidered on top of each other. Following embroidery, PECOTEX demonstrated lower electrical resistance than the silver-based threads, meaning they were better at conducting electricity. 

  1. “PEDOT:PSS-Modified Cotton Conductive Thread for Mass Manufacturing of Textile-Based Electrical Wearable Sensors by Computerized Embroidery” by Fahad Alshabouna et al., published September 2022 in Materials Today. 

  1. For videos of the sensors in action see: imperialcollegelondon.box.com/s/9azcl2ow9frf4kfkz7x78rs7nu5ra9wt  

  1. About Imperial College London 

Imperial College London is one of the world's leading universities. The College's 22,000 students and 8,000 staff are working to solve the biggest challenges in science, medicine, engineering and business.  

Imperial is University of the Year 2022 in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is the world’s sixth most international university, according to Times Higher Education, with academic ties to more than 150 countries. Reuters named the College as the UK's most innovative university because of its exceptional entrepreneurial culture and ties to industry.   

Imperial has a greater proportion of world-leading research than any other UK university, according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Imperial ranks first in the UK for research outputs, first in the UK for research environment, and first for research impact among Russell Group universities. 


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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Experts agreed that stress affects all areas of life, including sexual (Getty).

To the fast pace of life, work obligations and tight daily routines, the COVID-19 pandemic has added to anxiety, fear, uncertainty and a global traumatic situation that will undoubtedly Increased stress level in societyIn some cases, up to its maximum point.

And it is well known that when stress is no longer a punctual response and becomes a chronic condition, it has many consequences. Physical and mental health.

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle aches and a weakened immune system, and may even lead to the development of certain pathologies such as heart disease, depression and obesity. can also contribute. ,

And although most people may not know it, Stress can also affect the pelvic floor, that is, the group of muscles and other tissues that form a kind of sling or hammock in the pelvis. In women, this “floor” holds the uterus, bladder, intestines and other pelvic organs in place so that they can function properly.

Although Most People May Not Know It, Stress Can Also Affect The Pelvic Floor (Getty).
Although most people may not know it, stress can also affect the pelvic floor (Getty).

Now, various investigations show that pelvic floor muscles actively contract in response to physical or mental stress, with consequences for people’s daily lives and even on their sexuality.

Rachel Gelman is a physiotherapist who specializes in the pelvic floor and assures that “it is normal for people to tighten their gluteal muscles when they feel tense or nervous, and although this is a normal response, it is common when it comes to chronic stress. If the cause occurs, it can cause all kinds of pelvic floor disorders. In this way, according to the specialist, “various consequences can appear which range from pain during intercourse, pelvic organ prolapse or lumbar pain” to bladder dysfunction and constipation.”

And while stress may never have been linked to those outcomes, according to Caroline KoreaDirector of Fisiofit Mujer, a Spanish physiotherapy clinic dedicated to women’s health.Stress alters posture and breathing patternswhich leads to changes in the musculature of the diaphragm”.

In particular, it is usually more tense, which leads to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure and a downward thrust of the abdominal viscera. In this way, the pelvic floor muscles are forced to contract to counter the increased pressure and ensure urinary continuity. Over time this whole process of pelvic floor contraction will create trigger points, which are basically pain points.

The Muscle Group That Holds The Uterus, Bladder, Intestines, And Other Pelvic Organs Can Contract Just Like Any Other (Getty).
The muscle group that holds the uterus, bladder, intestines, and other pelvic organs can contract just like any other (Getty).

“Most of the time they are caused by pain during intercourse, back problems, pain that radiates down the leg, or discomfort during periods,” Gelman explained. In addition to these problems, frequent contractions of the pelvic muscles can lead to muscle fatigue, which favors the appearance of dire urinary incontinence.

consulted by infobaechimney Sweeps Marisa Labowski (MN 84376) explained that “the pelvic floor is made up of muscles and muscles contract like no other in the bodyTherefore, when one is stressed, everything shrinks”.

“On the other hand, when you’re tense you have less urge to have sex and sometimes you have sex all the way through, so when the muscles contract, the area doesn’t lubricate well and that causes discomfort. And there’s jealousy, and there’s a vicious circle. One arises in that when the person knows they’re going to have sex, they think it will hurt and so they contract and when they contract So it clearly hurts and so on, the gynecologist went deep.

Along the same lines, only about 20% of women under the age of 30 report recurrent sexual pain, according to a study by rebro University in Sweden. This pain, moreover, creates a fear of sexual relations and, therefore, the avoidance of them. As such, according to this work, “women with pain reported higher levels of fear avoidance and catastrophic pain, as well as depression and anxiety.” A condition that does nothing but maintain the root cause of tension and pain.

Chronic Stress, If Left Untreated, Can Lead To Anxiety, Insomnia, Muscle Aches And A Weakened Immune System (Getty).
Chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle aches and a weakened immune system (Getty).

In her turn, the gynecologist Gabriella Kosoy (Mn 70409), prior to this consultation with the medium, stated that “stress apparently affects all areas of life, including sexuality.” “It alters the microbiota, so it can cause constipation,” explained the expert. Very precise transition to the pelvic floorSo everything that changes the nervous system can change its structure”.

Regarding the variety of symptoms involved, Lebowski argued that “the pelvic floor is full of muscles, and if they contract, it makes intercourse difficult, moving from body to body, etc. Because throughout the pelvic floor The anus, vagina, and urethral opening are involved.

Pain During Intercourse And Other Effects Of Stress On Women'S Pelvic Floor
“Doing relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing, and pelvic floor exercises will definitely help” (Getty)

According to experts, the first step is to identify what condition may be causing the symptoms. stress And not for any other problem.

“The key is precisely to rule out other possible causes,” said Correira, for whom “a very similar case is that of chronic constipation. There are many women who eat the right diet, drink enough water, and eat regularly.” exercise, but still suffer from constipation. The answer would be stress levels.”

In the case of the pelvic floor, “we should Deny that the pain is due to a physical cause, For example, after going through childbirth or experiencing some sort of injury or infection in the area, Gelman said. If we can’t find any other obvious cause and we know we’re going through a prolonged phase of stress, perhaps we should try to work on it first.

In that sense, the physical therapist recommends “obvious things like spending time outside, doing gentle exercises like yoga and dance, writing, spending time with friends, masturbating or, of course, going to therapy can be very helpful.” “

Functional Improvements In Breathing Patterns And Pelvic Stability May Indirectly Affect Changes In The Pelvic Floor (Getty)
Functional improvements in breathing patterns and pelvic stability may indirectly affect changes in the pelvic floor (Getty)

,do relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing And pelvic floor exercises would certainly help, as well as being able to see what’s causing the stress and being able to solve it,” Labowski said, while Kosoy added: “Anything that does breathing exercises.” , mindfulness, yoga is definitely improving the stress will improve the symptoms.”

On the other hand, there are also specific exercises to relieve stress on a more physical level. Correia recommends mindful breathing for at least a minute. “Something as simple as this helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for reducing stress levels,” he said.

it should be remembered that The relationship between respiratory and postural function with the pelvic floor is, According to some studies, functional improvements in breathing patterns and pelvic stability may indirectly affect the changes produced in the pelvic floor, even in the case of symptoms such as urinary incontinence. In addition, some stretching on the side of the diaphragmatic muscle connection may also be useful. “Like stretching that favors hip opening, psoas stretching and quadratus lumborum,” Correra says.

&Quot;Everything That Is Breathing Exercises, Mindfulness, Yoga Will Definitely Improve Symptoms By Improving Stress&Quot; (Getty)
“Anything that is breathing exercises, mindfulness, yoga, will certainly improve symptoms by improving stress” (Getty)

At this point, in conversation with infobaenational teacher of physical education mariela catania has contributed Exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

“Lying on your back, with your legs bent, and feet supported, we put our hands on our stomachs and contract the pelvic floor. We have to feel how the sphincters close, we How do the pelvic organs lift up and the lower abdomen tenses up,” he described.

And she continued: “Now we’re going to contract the deep abdominal plane—the transversus abdominis—without losing the pelvic floor. The contraction should be smooth. We inflate the abdomen with air as we breathe in for two beats and slowly in four beats.” Exhale slowly. We repeat six to ten times and relax. We contract the pelvic floor, contract the inner abdomen, hold and relax.”

read on

At what age does stress peak and why?

5 physical exercises to relieve anxiety and reduce stress

Anxiety, stress or fear? A guide to recognizing them and recognizing their most common symptoms



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Imperial researchers have embedded new low-cost sensors that monitor breathing, heart rate, and ammonia into t-shirts and face masks.

Potential applications range from monitoring exercise, sleep, and stress to diagnosing and monitoring disease through breath and vital signs.

Spun from a new Imperial-developed cotton-based conductive thread called PECOTEX, the sensors cost little to manufacture. Just $0.15 produces a meter of thread to seamlessly integrate more than ten sensors into clothing, and PECOTEX is compatible with industry-standard computerized embroidery machines.

The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. They're also relatively easy to produce which means we could scale up manufacturing and usher in a new generation of wearables in clothing."


Fahad Alshabouna, First Author, Ph.D. Candidate, Imperial's Department of Bioengineering

The research team embroidered the sensors into a face mask to monitor breathing, a t-shirt to monitor heart activity, and textiles to monitor gases like ammonia, a component of the breath that can be used to track liver and kidney function. The ammonia sensors were developed to test whether gas sensors could also be manufactured using embroidery.

Fahad added: "We demonstrated applications in monitoring cardiac activity and breathing, and sensing gases. Future potential applications include diagnosing and monitoring disease and treatment, monitoring the body during exercise, sleep, and stress, and use in batteries, heaters, anti-static clothing."

The research is published today in Materials Today.

Seamless sensors

Wearable sensors, like those on smartwatches, let us continuously monitor our health and wellbeing non-invasively. Until now, however, there has been a lack of suitable conductive threads, which explains why wearable sensors seamlessly integrated into in clothing aren't yet widely available.

Enter PECOTEX. Developed and spun into sensors by Imperial researchers, the material is machine washable, and is less breakable and more electrically conductive than commercially available silver-based conductive threads, meaning more layers can be added for to create complex types of sensor.

Lead author Dr Firat Guder, also of the Department of Bioengineering, said: "PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs. It's readily scalable, meaning we can produce large volumes inexpensively using both domestic and industrial computerized embroidery machines.

"Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing. By monitoring breathing, heart rate, and gases, they can already be seamlessly integrated, and might even be able to help diagnose and monitor treatments of disease in the future."

Next, the researchers will explore new application areas like energy storage, energy harvesting and biochemical sensing, as well as finding partners for commercialization.

This study was funded by the Saudi Ministry of Education, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of the UKRI), Cytiva, Imperial's Department of Bioengineering, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Army.

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Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems one faces when handling stressful situations. According to experts, an anxious state of mind is born out of stressful life events from work, school, financial problems, personal relationships and even unpredictable events like a pandemic.

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. Human beings have various systems in the body to control the activities of organs. Like the heart regulates the blood flow to various body regions. The brain regulates the entire body using the nervous system," according to Dr Rohit Verma, Additional Professor, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

In the body, the sympathetic nervous system mediates most of the symptoms of anxiety. "This system gets activated when an individual undergoes stress. Apart from changes in the environment, factors such as genetics and altered brain chemistry can also activate this system, leading to anxiety,” shares Dr Verma.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY

Cognitive symptoms: In this, one has fear of losing control, fear of physical injury or death, fear of "going crazy," fear of negative evaluation by others, frightening thoughts, mental images, or memories, perception of unreality or detachment, poor concentration, confusion, distractible, narrowing of attention, hypervigilance for threat, feeling of impending doom and poor memory.

Physiological symptoms: In this, one faces increased heart rate, palpitations, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest pain or pressure, choking sensation, dizziness, light-headedness, sweaty, hot flashes, chills, nausea, upset stomach, diarrhoea, trembling, shaking, tingling or numbness in arms and legs, weakness, unsteadiness, faintness, tense muscles, cold extremities, and dry mouth.

Behavioural symptoms: Feelings of avoidance of threat cues or situations, escape, flight, pursuit of safety, reassurance, restlessness, agitation, pacing, freezing, motionless, and difficulty speaking come under this type of anxiety.

Affective symptoms: In this, one can be nervous, tense, wound up, frightened, fearful, terrified, edgy, jumpy, jittery, and impatient and frustrated too.

Listening to music can lower your stress levels. (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

ANXIETY HACKS ONE SHOULD KNOW

Breathing exercise

Inhale for four seconds, then hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for four seconds. Hold again for four seconds and repeat the process to calm the mind down.

Body scan

According to Dr Verma and psychologists Ishita Dhyani and Stuti Karna, do a body scan whenever you're anxious. One should focus on various body parts and bodily sensations in a gradual sequence from feet to head.

Music

Listening to music that calms you can also help lower your stress levels.

Emotional freedom technique

Experts suggest tapping the side of your hand, forehead, and chin point (7 times each) while simultaneously reciting a positive phrase. For example: “Even though I have this [fear or problem], I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Journaling

Just write down your thoughts on paper. It helps you to feel at ease.

Environmental awareness

It is important to listen to sounds. You can identify a thing in the environment, identify a smell, identify the touch of various objects around you, taste something or listen to sounds around you.

Drink water

Drink lukewarm water in sips.

Physiological symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, palpitations and shortness of breath. (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Meditation

Dr Verma and psychologists Dhyani and Stuti Karna advise mindfulness training as it helps in anxiety.

Exercise

Regular physical exercise or yoga works wonders in keeping stress at bay.

Value your time

Spend enough time with your friends and family.

Say no to caffeine

Cut off food items like caffeine and soda, especially if you have anxiety on a daily basis. Avoid alcohol and smoking too.

Daily routine

Have a set daily routine so that your body functions well.

Therapy

Meet professionals (psychologists and psychiatrists) if nothing else helps.

--- ENDS ---

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Imperial researchers have embedded new low-cost sensors that monitor breathing, heart rate, and ammonia into t-shirts and face masks.

Potential applications range from monitoring exercise, sleep, and stress to diagnosing and monitoring disease through breath and vital signs.

Spun from a new Imperial-developed cotton-based conductive thread called PECOTEX, the sensors cost little to manufacture. Just $0.15 produces a metre of thread to seamlessly integrate more than ten sensors into clothing, and PECOTEX is compatible with industry-standard computerised embroidery machines.

First author of the research Fahad Alshabouna, PhD candidate at Imperial's Department of Bioengineering, said: "The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. They're also relatively easy to produce which means we could scale up manufacturing and usher in a new generation of wearables in clothing."

The research team embroidered the sensors into a face mask to monitor breathing, a t-shirt to monitor heart activity, and textiles to monitor gases like ammonia, a component of the breath that can be used to track liver and kidney function. The ammonia sensors were developed to test whether gas sensors could also be manufactured using embroidery.

Fahad added: "We demonstrated applications in monitoring cardiac activity and breathing, and sensing gases. Future potential applications include diagnosing and monitoring disease and treatment, monitoring the body during exercise, sleep, and stress, and use in batteries, heaters, anti-static clothing."

The research is published today in Materials Today.

Seamless sensors

Wearable sensors, like those on smartwatches, let us continuously monitor our health and wellbeing non-invasively. Until now, however, there has been a lack of suitable conductive threads, which explains why wearable sensors seamlessly integrated into in clothing aren't yet widely available.

Enter PECOTEX. Developed and spun into sensors by Imperial researchers, the material is machine washable, and is less breakable and more electrically conductive than commercially available silver-based conductive threads, meaning more layers can be added for to create complex types of sensor.

Lead author Dr Firat Guder, also of the Department of Bioengineering, said: "PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs. It's readily scalable, meaning we can produce large volumes inexpensively using both domestic and industrial computerised embroidery machines.

"Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing. By monitoring breathing, heart rate, and gases, they can already be seamlessly integrated, and might even be able to help diagnose and monitor treatments of disease in the future."

Next, the researchers will explore new application areas like energy storage, energy harvesting and biochemical sensing, as well as finding partners for commercialisation.

This study was funded by the Saudi Ministry of Education, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of the UKRI), Cytiva, Imperial's Department of Bioengineering, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Army.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Imperial College London. Original written by Caroline Brogan. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Amazfit has announced the new smartwatch in its fourth generation GTR and GTS series family, Amazfit GTS 4 Mini. The watch, designed to be particularly light, offers 24-hour health monitoring, 120 sports modes and a 1.65-inch HD color display. The case is made of aluminum alloy 9.1 mm thick and weighing 19 grams. Four colors available, including Midnight Black, Flamingo Pink, Mint Blue and Moonlight White. The display is a color AMOLED with a resolution of 336 x 384 pixels and 309 ppi, with more than 50 quadrants already available to choose from and the always on function. Workouts can be monitored in any environment, thanks to five satellite positioning systems and patented circular polarization GPS antenna technology, which improves positioning performance and accuracy. Amazfit GTS 4 Mini has a battery with a capacity of 270 mAh, enough to run up to 15 days without recharging with typical use, and up to 45 days in battery saving mode.

Thanks to the integration of the self-developed BioTracker 3.0 PPG biometric optical sensor, Amazfit GTS 4 Mini offers in-depth management of your personal data, including 24-hour monitoring of heart rate, blood oxygen saturation and stress, plus the ability to quickly measure these three health indicators with a single tap in just 45 seconds. It also features in-depth sleep quality monitoring and sleep breathing quality as well as menstrual cycle monitoring and smart health alerts, including prompting to start the built-in breathing exercise if stress levels are detected. abnormally high. The smartwatch also offers an easy-to-understand health overview thanks to the PAI score, which provides a unique personalized score based on heart rate and other activity data.

The smartwatch is able to support Peakbeats, a training status algorithm developed independently by the brand, which offers specific data after each activity, such as VO2 Max, training load and training effect, to stay informed on the factors that influence the recovery, progress and exercise capacity. With a degree of protection and waterproofness of 5 ATM, Amazfit GTS 4 Mini can withstand water pressure equivalent to a depth of 50 meters. In addition, the device supports swim tracking with stroke recognition and SWOLF data to measure activity efficiency, while the Pool Swimming and Open Water Swimming sport modes can scientifically track all swim data. Powered by the Zepp OS operating system, it includes over 10 pre-installed mini apps. These include the integration of Amazon Alexa and practical functions such as music and camera control of the phone via Bluetooth, smart notifications for incoming calls, text messages and event reminders. Amazfit GTS 4 Mini is available in Italy with a recommended retail price starting from € 99.90.

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In predominantly collectivist societies in Southeast Asia, mental health unfortunately takes a backseat. While more and more people are beginning to conduct open dialogs about the pressing issues of mental health (and the social taboo that comes with treating it), this culturally-diverse region still has a long way to go.

This means that access to adequate mental health treatment is still not as easy as it should be for people who are silently suffering. And like any professional treatments, they can be rather expensive too.

With that said, it's probably safe to assume that you (the reader) have gone through your fair share of panic attacks, whether in the distant past, or more recently.

But first, what are panic attacks?

A panic attack is a feeling of intense anxiety that usually strikes suddenly, with no warning. Common symptoms of a panic attack include breathlessness, profuse sweating, dizziness, and nausea. They usually occur during periods in which you're experiencing increased stress in your life.

They can last anywhere between five minutes and up to an hour. I know, they're definitely unpleasant, and some major panic attacks can even have long-lasting effects on a person's mental health.

But you don't have to go through your next panic attack (there's no cure for it, after all) without any way to help shorten or alleviate it. Here are some methods that you might find very helpful.


Breathing exercises.

IMAGE: Anthony Tran / Unsplash

No, it's not the generic "take deep breaths in and out" that most people will probably tell you to do. Of course, as breathing normally works, you will have to inhale and exhale (duh), but these exercises take a little more concentrated effort.

There are multiple variations, so pick one that you feel is more well-suited to your preferences.

Breathing Exercise 1 (Basic – Low concentration).

Step 1: Close your eyes. Don't strain when doing this, it's okay if they're slightly open.

Step 2: While seated in a comfortable position (or laying in bed), breathe in gently and deeply through your nose. You can count steadily up to four while doing this.

Step 3: Breathe out gently and deeply through your mouth. You can also count steadily up to four during this exhale.

After a while (usually a few minutes) you'll start to feel much better, and perhaps even a little tired – because yes, this exercise does require effort, despite how simple it seems!

Breathing Exercise 2 (Hands on chest and diaphragm – Requires more concentration).

Similar to the first breathing exercise above, this one requires a bit more concentration and attention.

Step 1: Sit (or lie down) in a comfortable position.

Step 2: Place one hand over your chest and the other over your diaphragm. If you don't know where the latter is, it's the area below the bottom of your ribcage and above your belly button.

Step 3: Like the first breathing exercise, inhale gently and deeply through your nose while mentally counting to four. Concentrate on the hand placed over your diaphragm, which should be expanding as you breathe in. The hand on your chest should be relatively still.

Step 4: Breathe out, gently and deeply. Your diaphragm should be going back to its original (deflated) state. Watch as your hand moves in and out with it. The hand over your chest should be relatively still.

Step 5: Repeat until you feel calm enough. Concentrate on your hands moving (or staying still) with your diaphragm and chest.


Meaningful distractions.

This writer really got into keyboards as a form of therapy. IMAGE: Pedro Costa / Unsplash

Aside from breathing exercises, a good way to deal with panic attacks is to find distractions tailored specifically to your likings.

1. Therapeutic hobbies.

If, for example, you've got a hobby that involves building and/or modifying keyboards, take out that toolkit and start tinkering away when you feel a panic attack coming. It's these little mundane things that a lot of us may find therapeutic, making you forget you had a panic attack coming.

2. A good support system.

However, not all of us can be that easily distracted. In this case, it's good to have a support system that you can rely on – like a close friend who's willing to be there for you. They can even talk you through the breathing exercises mentioned previously, on the phone or in person.

3. A walk or run.

If you'd rather be alone during a panic attack, one of the easiest ways to deal with one is to go for a walk or run, provided you can do it safely. Keep consistent with your pace, and put on your favorite jams while you're at it.

In fact, many people claim they feel a "runner's high" after completing a good run. It's actually a brief, relaxing state of euphoria brought on by a release of endorphins into your bloodstream.

4. Cuddles with pets.

Got some pets running around the house? Give them some cuddles, because animals feel (and give) nothing but pure love, even if they expect a snack afterwards.


Seek help, if you haven't already.

IMAGE: Rendy Novantino / Unsplash

Panic attacks are inevitable – they're an unfortunate effect of anxiety and depression, and can leave us feeling trapped. But acknowledging them is the first step to getting better. For more long-term assistance, it's definitely a good idea to seek help from a qualified professional, like a psychologist, therapist, or counselor. Choices will vary, depending on your budget, of course.

But if you're in need of someone to talk to, here are some 24-hour mental health resources that might help:

Befrienders KL (Malaysia) – Emotional support hotline: 03-7627-2929.

Didi Hirsch Torture Crisis Line (Vietnam) – Crisis hotline: 877-727-4747.

National Mental Health Crisis Hotline (the Philippines) – 1553 (Luzon-wide, landline toll-free), 0966-351-4518/0917-899-8727 (GLOBE/TM subscribers), and 0908-639-2672 (SMART/SUN/TNT subscribers).

Love Inside Suicide Awareness (Indonesia) – Mental health and suicide prevention hotline: +62-811-3855-472 (Bahasa) and +62-811-3815-472 (English).

Institute of Mental Health (Singapore) – Mental health hotline: +65-6389-2222.

For more mental health resources in Southeast Asia, click here.


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Baptist North Mississippi’s pulmonary program certified by leading cardiovascular and pulmonary organization

Published 8:00 am Friday, September 23, 2022

Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi’s pulmonary rehabilitation program was recently certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, in recognition of the hospital’s commitment to enhancing standards of patient care.

To earn accreditation, Baptist North Mississippi’s rehabilitation program participated in an application process that requires extensive documentation of the program’s practices.

“The certification from American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a testament to the high-quality care of our pulmonary rehab program,” said Bill Henning, administrator and CEO of Baptist North Mississippi. “Our health care providers and colleagues at Baptist North Mississippi work diligently to provide advanced care for patients.”

AACVPR Program Certification is the only peer-reviewed accreditation process that assesses a program’s adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by AACVPR and other related professional societies. The certification is valid for three years.

Pulmonary rehabilitation programs are designed to help people with pulmonary problems (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory symptoms) recover faster and live healthier. Programs include exercise, education, counseling and support for patients and their families.

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What does "Pulmonary Fibrosis" mean?  
The word “pulmonary” means lung and the word “fibrosis” means scar tissue— similar to scars that form on the skin from an old injury or surgery. So, in its simplest sense, pulmonary fibrosis (PF) means scarring in the lungs.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. This thickened, stiff tissue makes it more difficult for your lungs to work properly. As pulmonary fibrosis worsens, people can become progressively more short of breath.

The scarring associated with pulmonary fibrosis can be caused by a multitude of factors. But in most cases, doctors can't pinpoint what's causing the problem. When a cause can't be found, the condition is termed idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The lung damage caused by pulmonary fibrosis can't be repaired, but medications and therapies can help ease symptoms and improve quality of life. For some patients, a lung transplant might be appropriate.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis:  
The most common symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis are dry, persistent cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may be mild or even absent early in the disease process. As the lungs develop more scar tissue, symptoms worsen. Shortness of breath initially occurs with exercise, but as the disease progresses patients may become breathless while taking part in everyday activities, such as showering, getting dressed, speaking on the phone, or even eating.

Due to a lack of oxygen in the blood, some people with pulmonary fibrosis may also have “clubbing” of the fingertips. Clubbing is a thickening of the flesh under the fingernails, causing the nails to curve downward. It is not specific to pulmonary fibrosis or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and occurs in other diseases of the lungs, heart, and liver, and can also be present at birth.

How Do Doctors Recognize and Diagnose Pulmonary Fibrosis? 
There are three consequences of pulmonary fibrosis. Doctors use these consequences to recognize that someone has PF:

1. Stiff Lungs. Scar tissue and inflammation make your lungs stiff. Stiff lungs are hard to stretch, so your breathing muscles have to work extra hard just to pull air in with each breath. Your brain senses this extra work, and it lets you know there’s a problem by triggering a feeling of breathlessness (or “shortness” of breath) while exerting yourself.

Also, stiff lungs hold less air (they shrink a bit). Doctors take advantage of this “shrinking” to diagnose and track the disease using breathing tests (called Pulmonary Function Tests) that measure how much air your lungs can hold. The more scar tissue your lungs have, the less air they will hold.

2. Low blood oxygen. Scar tissue blocks the movement of oxygen from the inside of your air sacs into your bloodstream. For many people living with pulmonary fibrosis, oxygen levels are only reduced a little bit while resting, but their oxygen levels drop quite a bit during activity. The brain can sense these low oxygen levels, triggering breathlessness.

Doctors will check your oxygen levels to see if they drop after walking, which could be a clue that PF might be present. Doctors also often prescribe oxygen to be used through a nasal cannula or a facemask during activity and sleep for those with PF. As pulmonary fibrosis progresses, oxygen may be needed 24 hours a day and flow rates may increase.

3. “Crackles" lung sounds. Your doctor may have told you that “crackles” were heard in your lungs. Crackles (also called “rales”) sound like Velcro being pulled apart.

They are heard in many lung diseases because any type of problem affecting the air sacs (such as PF, pneumonia, or a buildup of fluid in the lungs from heart failure) can cause crackles. Some people with pulmonary fibrosis don’t have crackles, but most do.

Can pulmonary fibrosis be reversed? 
Unfortunately, lung damage due to pulmonary fibrosis is permanent (not reversible). Getting diagnosed and starting treatment as early as possible may help your lungs work better, longer.

How is pulmonary fibrosis treated? 
Most pulmonary fibrosis treatments focus on easing symptoms and improving your quality of life.

Your provider may recommend one or more treatments: 
• Medication: Two medications — pirfenidone (Esbriet®) and nintedanib (OFEV®) —may slow down lung scarring. These medications can help preserve lung function.

• Oxygen therapy: Giving your body extra oxygen helps you breathe more easily. It may also increase your energy and strength.

• Pulmonary rehabilitation: Staying active in this special exercise program may improve how much (or how easily) you can do everyday tasks or activities.

• Lung transplant: A lung transplant replaces one or both diseased lungs with a healthy lung (or lungs) from a donor. It offers the potential to improve your health and quality of life. A lung transplant is major surgery, and not everyone is a candidate. Ask your provider if you may be eligible for a lung transplant.

Can pulmonary fibrosis be cured? 
No cure for pulmonary fibrosis exists today. But researchers around the world are working to change that.



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Step Up Rehab is a new Physiotherapy Practice based in West Bridgford and also offers Mat Pilates, Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Pilates and Acupuncture.

 

The business has recently opened on Gordon Road in West Bridgford and also operates classes at the newly opened F45 gym near Trent Bridge.

Screenshot 2022 09 22 at 14.15.38

Owner Shivani Soni told us:

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‘I’m really pleased to be opening in West Bridgford and look forward to being part of the community and helping people with any problems they may have.

‘I have a BSc in Sports Rehabilitation which has allowed me to have a great depth of knowledge in the musculoskeletal and sporting field and MSc in Physiotherapy (pre-reg) which has further enhanced my skills in the medical field.

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Shivani has  worked in the NHS within an acute setting for the past six years, while studying and practising and  completed rotations in elderly medicine, respiratory medicine, intensive care medicine, paediatrics/women’s health and musculoskeletal.

 

Shivani added:

‘I thrive on improving my client’s health and wellbeing therefore I always look at all cases holistically.

‘I ensure goals are discussed with patients, so they understand what outcomes to expect and what we are striving towards.

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‘I’m an APPI Mat Pilates Instructor with a specialist area in Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Mat Pilates.

‘Once an injury or pain starts to improve, Pilates is a great way to get your fitness back up! Pilates is so effective for total strength and conditioning, with minimal high impact on the body. The best thing about Pilates is that it’s adaptable for all abilities, injuries and ages!

‘I teach Pilates across West Bridgford and also virtually online so please get in touch for details so we can find something suitable for you!

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‘If you’re unsure about whether physiotherapy is for you, why not drop an email at [email protected], where we will establish if this is something that can be improved with physiotherapy input or you require another intervention. If I deem physiotherapy is not the right step for you, I will advise you to the correct professional as appropriate!

Google Review: “Very pleased with the sessions I have with Shivani. She’s competent, skilled, knowledgeable, and a good communicator. All exercises are tailored for our level of ability, or amended accordingly. Good value for money.”

Client Testimonial: “Shivani has played a crucial role in my recovery from an Achilles injury. Her patience, understanding and expertise have been invaluable. In addition to devising exercise programmes, using massage very effectively and undertaking acupuncture, Shivani also introduced me to her online Pilates classes which are appropriate for my physical abilities. These are extremely valuable in improving my overall fitness and my feeling of well-being. I cannot thank you enough Shivani.”

There is an offer together with West Bridgford Wire where you can get 20% off your first appointment!

Just use WIRE20 when you contact Step Up Rehab on the details below.

Contact details

Email: [email protected]
Instagram: stepuprehab
Website: stepuprehab.com
Text: 07462 892 724
Messages are responded to within 24 hours or less.

Address: Open Door Natural Therapy Centre, 10A Gordon Road, West Bridgford, NG2 7LN
Virtual Pilates: Via Teams

Sponsored 



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NEW DELHI: The ancient practice of meditation can do more than just relax the mind. Recent studies have revealed that meditation can positively impact heart health by reducing stress and lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

Mindfulness and meditation can benefit overall health, including heart health. The age-old practice uses quiet contemplation, breathing and sustained focus to help let go of stress and feel more calm and peaceful. It can be thought of as a mini-vacation from stress in life.

Psychological stress increases the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system. This causes a release of harmful hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These harmful hormones fasten the heart rate, increase cardiac output and narrow the arteries. As meditation induces deep relaxation in the mind and body, the stress subsides, and stability is restored.

How to Make Meditation a Habit?

Once people understand the basics of the practice, the next challenge is making it a habit. Like every other lifestyle change, it takes time to incorporate meditation into everyday life and build it into a routine. Here are some tips:

. Set a daily alarm on the phone or block out time on a digital calendar

. Try an app that reminds it's time to meditate and then record the length of the session

. Start by practising a few minutes every day and increase the time in small amounts until the goal is reached

. Meditation to Connect with the Heart's Energy

Here are some simple steps to connect with the heart's Energy:

. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

. Let go of any thoughts and the world outside.

. Focus the attention on the spiritual heart centre (the middle of the chest) and be aware of the heart as a space.

. Resting the attention on the heart centre, breathe gently and sense the breath flowing into the heart. One may also visualise a coolness permeating the chest.

. Breathe normally and steadily.

. For the next few minutes, sit and listen to the heart. The heart will gradually begin to release emotions, wishes, memories, dreams and fears long stored inside. If the mind wanders, gently return to the focus on the heart.

. Upon completing the meditation practice, take a few moments to reflect on the practice.

Why Meditation can be Useful for Heart Health?

Several studies have shown that meditation can lower stress levels, reduce cortisol levels and improve heart health. Meditation can activate the "rest-and-digest" functions of the body, which counteracts the "flight-or-fight" responses. With daily meditation practice, people can lower their heart rate and blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of heart diseases.

Here's a look into what different studies have to say about meditation and heart health.

Researchers in 2013 at the University of Sydney found that meditation can improve HRV. It is a significant marker of mental and physical health. After spending ten intensive days learning how to meditate, meditation drastically improved the heart's responsiveness.

In 2021, the American Journal of Biomedical Science and Research published a report on meditation's effect on heart rate. It revealed that with time, meditation helps the heart to beat slower and become more consistent. This indicates that meditation may be effective in preventing heart diseases.

The International Journal of Exercise Science published a study in 2017 on the effect of meditation on stressed college students. Throughout the 6-week-meditation programme, blood pressure and pulse decreased significantly.

It takes time to learn meditation and gain confidence, as with any new endeavour. The important thing is to practice every day, even if only for a few minutes. Meditation, no matter how brief, is always preferable to doing nothing. A schedule can also be used to establish a routine. In addition, every day, one should try to practice meditation. Daily practice can have enormous benefits not only for the heart, but also for the mind, body, and soul.

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Diagram of the sensors in a t-shirt and mask




Imperial researchers have embedded new low-cost sensors that monitor breathing, heart rate, and ammonia into t-shirts and face masks.

Potential applications range from monitoring exercise, sleep, and stress to diagnosing and monitoring disease through breath and vital signs.

The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. Fahad Alshabouna Department of Bioengineering

Spun from a new Imperial-developed cotton-based conductive thread called PECOTEX, the sensors cost little to manufacture. Just $0.15 produces a metre of thread to seamlessly integrate more than ten sensors into clothing, and PECOTEX is compatible with industry-standard computerised embroidery machines.

First author of the research Fahad Alshabouna, PhD candidate at Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, said: "The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. They’re also relatively easy to produce which means we could scale up manufacturing and usher in a new generation of wearables in clothing."

The researchers embroidered the sensors into a face mask to monitor breathing, a t-shirt to monitor heart activity, and textiles to monitor gases like ammonia, a component of the breath that can be used to detect liver and kidney function. The ammonia sensors were developed to test whether gas sensors could also be manufactured using embroidery.

Diagram of the sensors in a t-shirt and mask, next to a drawing of an embroidery machine creating the sensors
L: An industry-standard embroidery machine. R: Sensors embedded into a face mask and t-shirt

Fahad added: "We demonstrated applications in monitoring cardiac activity and breathing, and sensing gases. Future potential applications include diagnosing and monitoring disease and treatment, monitoring the body during exercise, sleep, and stress, and use in batteries, heaters, and anti-static clothing."

The research is published in Materials Today.

Seamless sensors

Wearable sensors, like those on smartwatches, let us continuously monitor our health and wellbeing non-invasively. Until now, however, there has been a lack of suitable conductive threads, which explains why wearable sensors seamlessly integrated into clothing aren’t yet widely available.

Enter PECOTEX. Developed and spun into sensors by Imperial researchers, the material is machine washable, and is less breakable and more electrically conductive than commercially available silver-based conductive threads, meaning more layers can be added to create complex types of sensor.

"PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs... Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing." Dr Firat Güder Department of Bioengineering

The researchers tested the sensors against commercially available silver-based conductive threads during and after they were embroidered into clothing.

During embroidery, PECOTEX was more reliable and less likely to break, allowing for more layers to be embroidered on top of each other.

After embroidery, PECOTEX demonstrated lower electrical resistance than the silver-based threads, meaning they performed better at conducting electricity. 

Lead author Dr Firat Güder, also of the Department of Bioengineering, said: "PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs. It’s readily scalable, meaning we can produce large volumes inexpensively using both domestic and industrial computerised embroidery machines.

Scanning electron and optical micrographs of a cotton thread, PECOTEX, and PECOTEX after embroidery
Scanning electron and optical micrographs of a cotton thread, PECOTEX, and PECOTEX after embroidery

"Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing. By monitoring breathing, heart rate, and gases, they can already be seamlessly integrated, and might even be able to help diagnose and monitor treatments of disease in the future."

The embroidered sensors retained the intrinsic properties of the fabric such as wearability, breathability and feel-on-the-skin. They are also machine washable at up to 30°C.

Next, the researchers will explore new application areas like energy storage, energy harvesting and biochemical sensing for personalised medicine, as well as finding partners for commercialisation.

Diagram showing the synthesis of PECOTEX and a photograph of the produced thread on a bobbin. Inset shows the chemical structure of the product. Next photo shows process for computerised embroidery of patterns using PECOTEX and 1 mm thick silicone substrates.
(a) Synthesis of PECOTEX and a photograph of the produced thread on a bobbin. Inset shows the chemical structure of the product; (b) Process for computerised embroidery of patterns using PECOTEX and 1 mm thick silicone substrates.

This study was funded by the Saudi Ministry of Education, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of the UKRI), Cytiva, Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Army.

"PEDOT:PSS-modified cotton conductive thread for mass manufacturing of textile-based electrical wearable sensors by computerized embroidery" by Alshabouna et al., published 6 September 2022 in Materials Today.

Images and video credits: Güder Research Group.

See the press release of this article

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