There is a booming market for tinnitus remedies, with nearly 15% of all adults suffering from tinnitus. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of false claims out there. And with yoga becoming a growing health trend, it’s only expected they intersect at some point. The exciting thing is not that these two markets finally crashed into each other but that yoga can help treat tinnitus!
What is the Main Cause of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is the awareness of sounds, like buzzing or ringing, that come from the ears or head and not an external source. For many, tinnitus isn’t just background noise but a constant disturbance. Unfortunately, the exact mechanism and cause of tinnitus isn’t entirely understood and may be the result of a myriad of factors, such as:
- Hearing loss – either permanent hearing loss (that occurs with aging or noise exposure) or more temporary losses (that occur with blockages from ear wax or infections)
- Head injuries
- TMJ disorders
- Dysfunction of the middle ear
- Blood vessel disorders
And often, if the source of tinnitus is known, it may not be the easiest to lessen its disturbance. Even though your ears may be the source of the tinnitus, it isn’t driving its annoyance; the limbic system is.
What is the Limbic System
The limbic system is a mechanism in your brain that processes how things emotionally affect you. And with that information, warns you when you are dealing with something unpleasant or something similar to a known unpleasantry. Your limbic system tells you that the constant noise you hear is dangerous and should be continuously monitored.
This mechanism also isn’t the most precise. To keep you safe or provide you tools with how to handle the situation, any time you are in an emotionally unpleasant situation, your limbic system will remind you of other times you’ve been in a similar situation. So, when you’re stressed, you’re reminded of all the other things that stress you out.
This is why tinnitus disturbance is worsened by stress, fatigue, or anxiety. And because your brain is focused on your tinnitus, it can cause also make it harder to sleep, concentrate, and focus on the task at hand.
When tinnitus starts to affect the quality of life, it’s time to focus not only on the ringing but what worsens its severity. It’s time to focus on the limbic system, and yoga can be the key.
How Yoga Can Help Treat Tinnitus
Yoga is a practice that involves a combination of movement (asana) and internally directed focus on self-awareness, breath, and energy. What makes yoga therapeutic isn’t that you are physically exercising (which is how most people identify with yoga). Still, you are learning and embodying the basic principles of this healing system.
The fundamental principles of yoga are:
- The human body is a holistic entity composed of numerous inter-related systems. Any change in one system affects another. Because of this, any condition or illness affects the body as a whole.
- Everyone is unique with different needs, and thus, a practice should be tailored to address everyone’s inherent individuality.
- You have the power to create change and be your own healer. No one can make lasting changes in your life for you. You alone are in charge of that choice. Healing comes from within when you take an active role in your journey.
- Your mind and your body are joined together, each affecting the other. Your mind can be more stubborn than your body, and because of that, your mindset is crucial to healing. With a positive mind-state, healing occurs more quickly.
Yoga fosters the ability to be in the present moment by joining body, mind, and spirit to create peace and healing. Mindfulness and yoga have been shown to positively stimulate the limbic system, reducing stress and anxiety. Yoga helps relieve tinnitus disturbance because it directly addresses the mechanism that drives it.
What is Yoga Therapy
Although yoga is inherently therapeutic, when I talk about whether yoga can help treat tinnitus, I’m not referring to the group classes at your gym. I’m talking about applying yogic principles in a focused way to achieve a goal or relieve symptoms. This is yoga therapy, and it crosses beyond just a system of exercise.
A yoga therapist or therapeutic group will focus on specific conditions to utilize yoga in a way that makes you feel better or improves your function – it focuses on your needs. Reducing or managing your symptoms helps improve your function and attitude concerning your health conditions.
No One Thing is a Cure for Tinnitus
Just like there is no one cause for tinnitus, there is no one cure. Often, it takes a collaborative effort across disciplines to develop a proper treatment plan to tackle tinnitus. Integrative therapies, like nutrition, yoga and meditation, and psychotherapy may be indicated in addition to treating the auditory component.
Although tinnitus is often referred to as a disorder of the ears, the limbic system’s involvement should never be underestimated. At Wholistic Hearing Care, we try to offer all the tools you need for truly effective tinnitus relief treatment. If you are in the Chicago-land area and are interested in tinnitus management, please contact us a call at (630) 474-5008.