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How Yoga and Meditation Offer Health Care Savings

How Yoga and Meditation Offer Health Care Savings

An ancient practice that is known to promote health and well-being, yoga and meditation can go a long way in offering health care savings too. A practice that works on physical, emotional and mental health, yoga and meditation provides a healthy and sustained approach to weight management, immunity building, stress relief, strength and stability, and much more. It is effective in pain management, helping practitioners combat chronic pain. 

A complete practice consists of yoga postures, breathing exercise and meditation or relaxation. This holistic approach works on every aspect of the mind and body, improving overall fitness and well-being. This helps reduce overall health care costs, and even insurance premiums. 

A new research study by Harvard Health shows that incorporating some time for yoga and meditation regularly might help keep the doctor away. Stress-related health problems make up 80% of doctor visits and account for the third highest health care expenditures - the first two being heart diseases and cancer. To this statistic, yoga and meditation, a mind-body practice, is known to reduce your body’s stress response by strengthening your relaxation response and lowering cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Furthermore, an individual’s carbon dioxide tolerance levels indicate how well a person can utilize oxygen as well as tolerate carbon dioxide in the body. These levels are influenced by good breathing habits, slow and deep breathing, and breathing through the nostrils only. CO2 levels are highly correlated to state anxiety, that is, a person’s predisposition to feeling stressed, anxious and not in control.

Since yoga works on mental, physical and physiological health, it improves heart health and relieves depression and anxiety. Its cost-effectiveness is tremendously significant and one can even practice from home. 

Here is an excerpt from the study

Dr. James E. Stahl and his team of Harvard researchers studied a mind-body relaxation program offered through the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. An 8-week program, participants learnt several different mind-body approaches, including meditation, yoga, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral skills, and positive psychology. The study volunteers participated in weekly sessions and practiced at home as well.

Results of the study found that people in the relaxation program used 43% fewer medical services than they did the previous year, saving on average $2,360 per person in emergency room visits alone. This means that such yoga and meditation programs could translate into health care savings of anywhere from $640 to as much as $25,500 per patient each year.

“There are many ways to get to the well state — many gates to wellness, but not every gate is open to every person. One of the strengths of the program is that it draws upon many different tools that reinforce each other and allow many gates to be opened to a wide array of people,” says principal investigator Dr. Stahl, who is now section chief of general internal medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

With its popularity increasing by the day, one in ten Americans practice yoga and 45% of adults who do not practice yoga are saying they are interested in trying it. It is evident practicing yoga can go a long way in offering savings. Here are a few ways insurance is more cost-effective too: 

Lower Premiums

Health insurance premiums depend on various factors such as age, medical history, and existing conditions, etc. An individual with good health will need to pay a lower premium comparatively. Practicing regular yoga and meditation keeps one in sound health, ensuring  all-round fitness and health. This lowers the chances of developing conditions and paying higher premiums. 

Higher Coverage

Regular yoga practice increases immunity, reduces health risks, and improves overall well-being. This reduces the spending on health care expenses. Moreover, one can avail a comprehensive coverage with minimum exclusion under the health insurance policy at a lower premium rate. 

Special Savings

Following a balanced and healthy lifestyle can help one access savings on premiums, if the policyholder meets the pre-defined criteria of wellness and fitness. The primary reason for offering these rewards is that there are lower chances for a healthy individual to have any medical issue or go for medical treatment, therefore their chances of filing a claim also reduce to a great extent, which in result saves the health insurance companies cost. This benefit of cost-saving of the insurance company is passed on to the customer in form rewards on health and wellness. So, practicing yoga and meditation helps maintain good health, and leads to better savings. 

Reduces Vulnerability

Today’s illnesses are caused by irregular lifestyles, lack of physical activity and unhealthy environments. The treatment of critical conditions like kidney failure, cancer, diabetes, and heart attack can burn a hole through the pocket. Practicing regular yoga helps stay healthy and fit, reducing the chances of having any critical illnesses. 

Yoga practices, including asanas, breathwork and meditation, strengthen the body's relaxation response, lower stress levels and help maintain a balanced lifestyle. The practice is a great way to relax and quieten the body and mind. Practitioners have reported seeing improvements in overall health and well-being, reducing hospital and emergency room runs. 

How Yoga and Meditation Offer Health Care Savings
Shvasa Editorial Team

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