Essential Tremor and Yoga

essential tremorTremors (involuntary rhythmic contraction and relaxation of muscles) may occur in one or more body parts, depending upon causes and overall health. For many, shaking may be a natural part of ageing. However, tremors may be a symptom of deeper, underlying disorders. And, of course, see a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms.
Many people associate tremors with Parkinson’s disease, but the two conditions differ in key ways:
Timing of tremors: Essential tremor of the hands usually occurs when you use your hands. Tremors from Parkinson’s disease are most prominent when your hands are at your sides or resting in your lap.
Associated conditions: Essential tremor doesn’t cause other health problems, but Parkinson’s disease is associated with a stooped posture, slow movement and a shuffling gait. However, people with essential tremor may sometimes develop other neurological signs and symptoms, such as an unsteady gait (ataxia).
Parts of body affected: Essential tremor mainly involves your hands, head and voice. Parkinson’s disease tremors usually start in your hands, and may affect your legs, chin and other parts of your body.

 The most common causes of tremors are anxiety and stress. Weight training for muscle strength, and aerobic exercise foe stress relief are also beneficial for reducing tremors. Yoga, meditation and guided imagery are well known for stress reduction. Breathing techniques such as alternate nostril breathing and the cleansing kapalabhati breath may also be helpful. Cutting back on caffeine, healthy eating, adequate sleep, allowing time for relaxation, and getting massages and Reiki treatments are also recommended for cutting anxiety and stress.

Yoga offers a holistic approach to body, mind and spirit and provides tools to cope with life’s challenges. Yoga supports and complements medical science and traditional therapies. Yogic postures can benefit those with tremors by providing neuromuscular relief, stress reduction, and increased muscle strength.

As with all physical therapies, you may find some postures challenging. Techniques and postures can easily be adapted to suit individual needs. Make sure that your yoga instructor knows that you experience tremors as well as any other issues. And have the instructor advise you on developing and adapting your yoga practice. Also, check with a doctor, before trying any physical therapies.

See: Yoga Postures Recommended for Reducing Tremors