Exactly What To Do For A Pulled Muscle

If you’re engaged in any sort of regular exercise regime (that includes you weekend warriors!), you’ve probably experienced a pulled muscle. You know how it goes: You’re on a roll, feeling strong, and then it hits—ouch!

The pain can rate anywhere from a dull (but totally annoying) ache to holy-cow-that-hurts throbbing, with every movement a reminder of the injury. You may even experience limited mobility. With either situation, listening to your body and responding swiftly is key so that you can safely resume your everyday activities.

Understanding the Injury

“When people refer to a ‘pulled muscle,’ what they are really referring to is a muscle strain,” says Chris Falcon, a Chicago-based certified personal trainer and founder of Reactive Performance Enhancement Center.

So what actually happens to the muscle? “Due to a multitude of factors, the muscle tissue has been stressed beyond what it can handle, and different degrees of tearing or damage has been done,” says Falcon.

Not all pulled muscles are created equal, but there are two main kinds of common muscle strain:

“A Grade 1 strain is less severe and requires a couple weeks to heal,” says Falcon. “A Grade 2 strain is more severe, but does not include a complete rupture of the tissue. There are Grade 3 strains, but I don’t classify these as muscle pulls. These are when there is extensive damage, and surgery could be possible.”

Fast Action

So do you hop into a hot shower and hope for the best? Or do you stretch it out? Neither, actually.

Cold is king right after an injury takes place. Mayo Clinic advises using the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) plan of action, which includes icing the muscle and then resting it (yep, this actually means you need to refrain from using that muscle!).

Immediately, you’ll want to “discontinue the exercise or activity before they do more damage to the muscle,” says Robert Herbst, personal trainer and powerlifter.

In tandem with resting the area, you’ll want to apply ice for 20 minutes to reduce bleeding and inflammation. You can do this every few hours, daily.

You can use an ice pack or even a bag of frozen peas, or you can get into an ice-slush bath. This will relieve swelling while also helping to minimize the pain. Herbst warns to limit icing to 20 minutes, though, as after that amount of time the cold can have the opposite effect on the body—increasing blood flow to the area (painful!) in order to prevent frostbite.

Next, you’ll want to compress the area: “They can wrap the area with a bandage to reduce blood flow to the area and to provide support,” says Herbst, using the example of a person who has pulled a hamstring but still needs to walk.

Lastly, you’ll want to elevate the area. In the event of a pulled calf, for example, lying down with one’s foot up on pillows would be ideal. The strain should be elevated above heart level to continue reducing blood flow.

Treating the Symptoms

To combat discomfort, you may want to use an anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, or you can go the more natural route:

1. Arnica

Homeopathic supplements, like Arnica Montana 30C, are commonly used help relieve symptoms related to muscle aches and swelling. If you prefer a topical approach, Arnica Gel is a fast-absorbing option for the temporary relief of pain, stiffness, and swelling.

2. Tiger Balm

You can also turn to Tiger Balm, which is a centuries-old ointment that utilizes camphor and menthol to send a soothing, icy-hot sensation to the pain point.

3. Movement

“After 24 hours, they can consider, depending on the pain, doing light exercise to flood the area with blood to promote healing, followed by ice,” says Herbst. This might look like a careful stretch or a series of slow, gentle yoga sequences.

4. Castor oil

Mindy Solkin, professional running coach and founder of The Running Center in Philadelphia, PA, uses castor oil for pain reduction. First, she pours the castor oil onto a flannel cloth or paper towel. She then places it over the muscle, wraps it in Saran wrap, places a heating pad on top (medium heat), and leaves it there for about 15-20 minutes.

Note that if the swelling continues, or if there’s a significant loss of mobility, bleeding, or a change in the shape of the muscle, you should head to the doctor. These may all be signs of a more serious issue.

Avoid Future Injury

In terms of prevention, you want to make your warm-up a priority. “Everyone knows that it’s best practice to stretch thoroughly before exercising, but it’s also really important to stretch after you’ve finished your workout,” says Dr. Jae Park, a physical therapist at Advanced Wellness in NJ. “This helps increase blood flow and reduce muscle fatigue, leading to a faster recovery that prevents future injuries.”

It doesn’t need to be overly choreographed, though. Falcon suggests keeping the intensity low and movements simple.

Another way to keep your muscles in tip-top shape: Stay hydrated. “This not only includes drinking water, but also eating nutrient-dense superfoods, to ensure a balance in osmotic pressure at the cellular level,” says Falcon.

5 Easy Ways To Add Meditation To Your Day

In a world where we’re accessible almost all of the time, it can feel nearly impossible to shut down, even for a few minutes, in an effort to engage in a little self-care. Smart phones, for example, are definitely affecting our mental health—and that’s because our texts and emails are always right there, begging us to look, scroll, and respond.

On top of being so digitally connected that we end up feeling disconnected, about 18 percent of Americans also have anxiety or depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, which can be caused by any number of factors—including our genetics and lifestyle choices. This is where meditation comes in.

A study published in the journal BMC Complementary Alternative Medicine looked at why people choose to meditate. According to their findings, 92 percent of meditators used their practice for stress management, while other highly-rated reasons included emotional well-being and the promotion of other healthy behaviors.

Meditation can literally change our brains; as a daily practice, it has the potential to increase regions of the brain associated with emotional regulation and response control, according to a study published in the journal NeuroImage.

The fact is, most of us can’t drop everything and go to a meditation class or do an hour-long meditation each day. However, there are tried-and-true ways to incorporate beneficial meditative practices into your everyday life and larger mental health strategies—helping you to connect with yourself and disengage from the overwhelming fast pace of modern life.

Featured Products

1. Use an app

Sure, your iPhone might be a source of your overwhelm—but it can also be a tool for good. Meditation apps are ideal for anyone looking for a little zen in between zipping (or slogging!) through meetings and deadlines. Whether you’re totally new to meditation or you simply find a guided session makes it easier for you to stay accountable, a slew of digital options exist to help you achieve a little peace.

“Often times, the people who don’t have time to spend 10 minutes a day to meditate are the ones who need it most,” says Michael Acton Smith, co-CEO and co-founder of Calm.com and the app Calm. “It’s less than one percent of your day, but doing so will make the other 99 percent better.”

Acton Smith notes that his company’s “Daily Calm” feature is popular in its simplicity: It offers a new 10-minute meditation each day.

“I find that the best way to make it a habit is to do it before or after something you already do (e.g. brush your teeth, showering, etc),” he says. “It’s a wonderful and healthy way to start the day.”

Other apps include Headspace, Stop, Breath, and Think, and Insight Timer. When using these apps, you’ll typically have the option to choose a guided or unguided meditation for a duration (five, 10, or more minutes) of time that works for you. These apps offer meditation topic choices (for example, gratitude or happiness) or open-ended meditation sessions. You can even set a timer to remind you to step away and find your zen a few times per day. Easy-peasy.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Meditation Can Be Life-Changing (Science Even Says So)

2. Eat your way to Zen

If you’re super-busy, you can even use mealtime as a chance to unwind. Sure, it may seem easier to wolf down a sandwich in your car while en route to a meeting, the office, or home, but really focusing on your meal is a chance to practice meditation.

“If you take a moment and think of each bite—this is a great way to bring mindfulness and an eating meditation into your life,” says Tal Rabinowitz, CEO and founder of The Den Meditation, a neighborhood meditation studio with two Los Angeles locations. “It’s something you would have been doing anyway!”

Focusing on what’s on your plate and eating in a meditative way isn’t only good for the soul, but for your entire body. In an article published in the journal Health Psychology, researchers looked at ways mindful eating could affect otherwise unhealthy food choices. They concluded that “mindful eating is a beneficial strategy to reduce impulsive food choice, at least temporarily, that may impede weight gain.”

Here’s how, according to Harvard Medical School, you might mindfully eat during a meal: You’ll want to start with a small portion. Before eating, silently think about your gratitude for the food and for the experience. Mentally log the color, texture, and scent of the food, taking small bites which you chew 20 to 40 times.

3. Take A Time Out

According to Beth Stone, an Orlando-based yoga instructor who works with the Young Yogi Program, it’s key to make time to press reset.

“We all have busy lifestyles but life on the go doesn’t have to translate into a forfeit of self-care,” she explains. “When we take a few minutes to ground, center, and reset, we are much more likely to think clearly, act from a place of compassion, and act from our highest available vibration.”

She suggests finding a place (that might even be a bathroom stall) where you can sit with your back against a wall—ideally a corner where two walls meet. First, just breathe.

“Take nice, slow inhalations,” she advises. “Connect your physical body to the earth and the space around you.”

Related: Shop aromatic candles to de-stress and beautify your space.

Next, place one hand on the front of your belly and the other hand on your lower back. Continue taking slow, deep breaths into your front hand, filling up all the space you can into your hand.

“Exhale and allow the belly to flatten towards the back of the spinal cord,” instructs Stone. “Breathe into the back hand, filling the back hand up as much as possible.  With the exhale, allow the back of the spine to relax back in toward the spinal cord.  Continue this breathing pattern for three to five cycles.”

Breathing exercises do more than slow you down and force you to disconnect, though. According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Cases, this sort of breathing may “positively impact our compensatory mechanisms to restore functional cognitive reserves.” It goes on to say, “It is very likely that meditation and intentional rhythmic breathing may, in part, reduce the overall physiological strain and mental workload on these human systems.”

4. Imagine a warm light washing over you.

We already know how powerful breathing can be—but couple that with creative visualization and you have a beautiful routine at the ready.

For this exercise, you’ll want to find a place where you can breath and visualize for a for moments—whether that be at your desk or in your bed before falling asleep. “You can wear whatever you want and you can be anywhere,” Rabinowitz says. “Sit in a chair, on the floor, on your bed. Zero props required.”

To do this, “[For the] first breath, breathe in deep and relax your shoulders on the exhale,” says Rabinowitz. “With the second, third and subsequent breaths, picture a warm light washing over you. This can really help you detach from the insanity and calm down. This doesn’t mean your brain is going to shut off, but it can bring you down from a 10 to a three.”

Related: Shop antioxidant and mood-boosting herbs like ashwagandha.

5. Take a walk outside.

Earthing (also known as grounding) is the act of putting your body in direct contact with the earth—whether it be water, soil, sand, or any other natural element. A study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America showed that grounding can have an immense neurological effect on our well-being. In the study, people who walk in a wooded area (for 90 minutes) were less likely to feel stressful and anxious.

While outdoors, you might want to do a simple walking meditation. During this, you’ll want to deliberately notice your steps and pace, you’ll tune in your breathing, and you’ll take note of the sights and sounds—the crunch of leaves, the sound of water—all around you.

All About Your New Favorite Cleanser: Micellar Water

If you’ve shopped for skin-care products any time within the past year, you’ve undoubtedly spotted the beauty industry’s latest darling: micellar water. Just like regular ol’ H20, micellar water is a clear liquid—but what is it, exactly? And how do you even pronounce it?

Have no fear, beauty junkies—we had the experts break it all down for you. (And for the record, it’s my-SELL-ar.)

What is it made of?

Micellar water is made with something called micelles, which are tiny balls of molecules that react to water.

“Micellar water is micelles suspended in soft water, creating microscopic oil molecules that are great for cleaning the face by attaching to dirt, grime, and makeup,” says Dr. Rhonda Klein, a board-certified dermatologist with the Connecticut Dermatology Group. “Unlike soap, micelles dissolve impurities without stripping the skin, and since it has the same viscosity of water, the face feels clean and rejuvenated after treatment.” Also, unlike soap, it doesn’t require water in order to work, so no rinsing is necessary.

The product isn’t a new concept, despite its recent rise in popularity. In fact, its origins trace back to the coveted beauty regimen of a certain European country: “The French have been using micellar water for ages,” says Dr. Klein.

Is it a toner, a cleansing water, or a makeup remover?

There are a lot of cleansing products on the market and it can get confusing! So what’s the difference between cleansing water (another popular item) and micellar water? Micellar water contains those oily micelles, while cleansing water is usually made up of purified water.

Related: Shop skin-loving micellar water products. 

And then there are toners. Toner is usually used after cleansing to refresh and tone the skin (although many contain alcohol and leave skin feeling dry and tight, unlike micellar water). While micellar water is primarily used to cleanse the skin, many beauty enthusiasts happily use it as toner, as well.

Bonus: It can also remove makeup (although heavy makeup is probably best removed with traditional makeup remover).

Should you Try it?

Given that the main ingredient in micellar water is water, it’s a safe option for most people. (Other ingredients might include vitamins, glycerin, and rooibos, like in this Derma E micellar water.)

“Almost all skin types can use micellar water without risk of drying out—even those with acne or oily skin can use micellar water to clean skin thoroughly without inflamed acne pimples,” says Dr. Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. However, if your skin is very oily or covered in extremely thick foundation, micellar water alone may not be strong enough to remove all of the impurities.

Featured Products

According to Dr. Nazarian, micellar water’s biggest benefit is that its oil droplets are hydrating (but don’t feel oily)—without disrupting the natural pH of skin, a problem that comes with some classic foaming cleansers.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, it was shown that micellar cleansing water “showed lower irritation potential than traditional high-lather face cleansing formats.” The research also noted that the pairing of micellar’s moisturizing benefits and its low potential for irritation makes it a promising option for those with sensitive skin.

Related: The Best Skin-Care Tips And Products For Your 20s, 30s, And 40s

“The fact that it doesn’t require scrubbing makes it great for sensitive skin, which tends to be easily irritated by harsher scrubs or rubbing typically needed to remove makeup,” she says.

A word of warning for anyone allergic to surfactants (which is a scientific word for “oil in water” molecules): Avoid micellar water. It’s not dangerous, but someone with an allergy might become red, itchy, or puffy with repeated use.

How Do You Use It?

Using micellar water is just as straightforward as its ingredients.

Dr. Nazarian recommends saturating a cotton ball with the micellar water, then gently swiping it over your skin. Use a second dry cotton pad to wipe over your skin to absorb the micelles, which will have attached themselves to the dirt and oil on your face.

Whatever you do, don’t scrub your skin while using the product. These little work horses take the elbow grease out of washing your face, so just let them do their thing. Simply repeat until the cotton ball appears clean, at any time of day.

Should You Stock Up On Oscillo This Flu Season?

When cold and flu season approaches, we do everything in our power to take cover. Some pile on the scarves, others load up on vitamin C. But despite our best efforts, most of us still fall prey to that same ol’ aching, coughing, and sneezing at some point over the winter.

While rest and hydration are essential when you’ve got cold- and flu-like symptoms, many swear by a homeopathic product called Oscillococcinum (oscillo-what?) to move recovery along quicker.

Despite its intimidating name—for the record, it’s pronounced oh-sill-oh-cox-see-num—the over-the-counter item has developed a cult-like following, especially among people who prefer a homeopathic route to health.

Quick lesson: Homeopathy is an alternative medical system developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. The FDA regulates these products, but doesn’t rate their efficacy. Oscillo’s active ingredient is called Anas Barbariae Hepatis et Cordis Extractum, which is an extremely diluted extract of duck liver and heart.

Featured Products

According to Dr. Elena Klimenko, MD, who is both board certified in internal medicine and licensed in medical acupuncture and homeopathy, Oscillo is a very commonly used product, sold in over 50 countries throughout the world—especially in France, where it is made and is the bestselling over-the-counter product for flu-like symptoms.

Some of Oscillo’s perks? “It does not cause drowsiness or a foggy feeling, does not interact with other medications, herbs, or supplements, and is not contraindicated with pre-existing conditions,” Klimenko says.

When taking Oscillo, you’ll put the entire contents of one tube under the tongue every six hours, up to three times a day—and time is of the essence, says Klimenko, who recommends taking it at the first sign of symptoms. It’s recommended for children two years and older, whereas decongestants and antihistamines aren’t recommended for anyone under the age of four.

The Bottom Line

A study published in British Homeopathy showed that Oscillo not only shortened the severity of flu symptoms, but the duration of them as well. In the study, 63 percent of participants who took the medicine within 24 hours of the onset of flu symptoms reported either a “clear improvement” or “complete resolution” of the symptoms within 48 hours.

When it comes to prevention, Dr. Klimenko stresses washing your hands often, eating well, and taking a multivitamin each day. But if that doesn’t work—and unfortunately it often doesn’t—she recommends Oscillo.

What Exactly Are EPA And DHA, Really?

We hear a lot about the importance of “healthy fats” like omega-3s—you know, the good stuff typically associated with fish and flaxseed. But two of the most popular omega 3s—DHA and EPA—are rarely broken down into layman’s terms, despite offering an impressive range of health benefits.

It’s time we get to know these powerhouses a bit better.

How Does DHA & EPA Benefit Us?

We already know DHA (a.k.a. docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (a.k.a. eicosapentaenoic acid) are types of omega-3s, but what’s an omega-3? In case you forgot or need a refresher, an omega-3 is a group of polyunsaturated (a.k.a. good) fatty acids that are key for healthy body functions. You can find them in fatty fish, shellfish, algae, flaxseed, nuts, and oils, as well as in supplements.

“[DHA and EPA] are the types of omega-3s that your body most efficiently uses,” explains Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition. “Both DHA and EPA are important for so many aspects of good health—from overall wellness to heart health, brain health, and even eye health.”

But do you really need them both? The short answer: yes. Despite the fact that they are both lumped into one big omega-3 category, they are not the same.

Related: Shop DHA & EPA supplements to boost your omega-3 intake. 

“DHA is the omega-3 found in greatest amounts in the brain and eyes—and is also found structurally in heart tissue,” says Gorin. “EPA is not stored in the brain and eyes in significant amounts but is very important for heart health and other aspects of health.”

According to the journal Nutrients, long-chain omega-3s like DHA and EPA are critical for health, supporting healthy heart, blood vessel, kidney, and blood pressure functions. They also lower the amount of blood fats (lipids) and help combat joint issues. More than just the physical, though, they may also benefit our neuropsychological health—especially DHA. According to Front Aging Neuroscience, DHA may help support cognitive functioning later in life. And, according to Pharmacological Research, DHA deficiency has been linked to feelings of depression.

How Much EPA & DHA Do You Need?

It depends. The Mayo Clinic says that Western diets tend to include 10 times more omega-6 fatty acids (which come from vegetable oils like corn and sunflower) than omega-3s. However, for those who largely eat a Mediterranean diet—one of the healthiest diets, and one that features fish as a staple—EPAs and DHAs may be more abundant.

Take note: Not all DHA and EPA may be as impactful, depending on its delivery system. For example, the Mayo Clinic points out that it hasn’t yet been proven whether plant-based or krill omega-3s are as beneficial to one’s health as, say, fish oil. Vegetarians may need to get their DHA and EPA elsewhere (like nuts or flaxseed), but if you can include fish in your diet, use it as your go-to source.

Related: All The Things You Didn’t Know Omega-3s Could Do For Your Health

And although the amount of DHA and EPA you need is largely individual, Gorsin suggests starting with some general recommendations.

I recommend eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings of cooked fatty fish like salmon and herring weekly to get in the proper amounts of EPA and DHA,” she says. “Or you could take a daily supplement providing at least 250 milligrams of EPA and DHA.” (There is currently no daily recommended amount, according to the National Health Institutes, but most supplements offer up 250-350 milligrams.)

Related: Shop vegan DHA and EPA products for fish oil alternatives.

However, you don’t need to stop at 250 milligrams, says Gorsin: “Some individuals could benefit from more than this amount—for instance, 500 milligrams per day has been found to be beneficial for lowering the risk of coronary heart disease in healthy adults, and pregnant or breastfeeding women would want to take in an extra 200 milligrams daily, up to 700 to 1,000 milligrams.” (Both EPA and DHA have been linked to supporting pregnancies carried to term, according to Review of Obstetrics and Gynecology.)

“You can speak with a registered dietitian nutritionist regarding how much you should take in, how to get the proper amount of omega-3s through the diet, and how to make the diet changes to do so,” says Gorin.

7 Unique Yoga Offshoots For Adventure Seekers

Sure, you might know your Chaturanga from your Ardha Chandrasana, but can you execute them while balanced on a slackline or suspended from silks? While bending one’s self into seemingly unnatural poses may feel like an adventure in and of itself, the practice of yoga—which dates back more than 5,000 years to ancient India—is constantly evolving.

Not simply for those looking to find their Zen through a mat-based flow, thrill seekers and out-of-the-box thinkers can get their yoga on in any number of ways, each producing unique personal benefits. Whether you feel more at ease in a farm-like setting where goats roam—yep, goats—or want to engage in some exhilarating primal movements, there’s a yoga class to fit your every need and comfort level.

1. ACROYOGA

AcroYoga is the stuff of Instagram dreams, where the hashtag #AcroYoga reveals pics of skilled students showing off their moves against scenic backdrops. This partner-based practice combines beautiful yoga poses and acrobatic lifts, with one member of the duo acting as “the base” and the other as “the flyer.”

Enthusiasts insist it both tones and loosens muscles, opening up the body without a great deal of strain. It’s also considered to be mentally and emotionally therapeutic, since the act of working as a team (versus solo, like most yoga practices) to achieve high-flying poses instills a sense of partnership and human connection.

2. Slackline Yoga

Not for the faint of heart, Slackline Yoga takes even the most accomplished yogis out of their comfort zone by practicing poses—you guessed it—on a slackline (a thin strip of webbing). Hello, Cirque Du Soleil! Students typically start low to the ground on a relatively short line to get a feel for the often shaky elements of this extreme endeavor.

Heather Larsen, a professional slacker, adopted her yoga practice after being inspired by some impressive yogis she saw on social media.

“Practicing on an unstable surface really challenges you in a new way,” she says. “Imagine doing eagle pose, but the ground is moving….that is not an easy task! It, in a sense, is a moving meditation.”

Related: Get all your yoga gear right here, from mats to stability balls to super-comfy pants. 

And, because you risk falling if you err, you will have to breathe, be in the moment and stay calm, she explains. And obviously there are physical benefits: “You can’t cheat in slacklining, so your core is extremely engaged basically the entire time you are on the line.”

3. SUP Yoga

Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga moves your asana practice onto the water, with an eight- to 14-ft long paddleboard serving as your “mat.” “Some of the most influential Yoga teachers of our generation have encouraged practitioners to practice near water,” says Kaycie Metzelaars, a certified yoga instructor otherwise known as The Chakra Lady. A river, lake, or shore are suitable.

For SUP newcomers, Metzelaars strongly encourages students to simply have fun with it. “Don’t take yourself too seriously,” she says. “You might wobble, you might fall in the water, and that’s OK! You don’t have to be ‘good’ at it to benefit from the experience.”

4. Aerial Yoga

Gravity may not feel like our friend as we age, but Aerial Yoga uses the force to our advantage. Fusing classical yoga with a Cirque du Soleil vibe, circus fabrics are used to help support the body while doing familiar poses in the air.

In essence, the pull of gravity encourages the body to realign in a gentle way, which is particularly beneficial for students who suffer from back pain. Inversion poses (upside down, that is) that may have previously felt impossible for some students are suddenly within reach, adding the benefit of confidence to one’s practice.

5. Goat Yoga

Animal-assisted therapy isn’t a trend but a lifestyle. And with the advent of businesses like cat cafes, it’s only getting more popular. According to a 2012 study published in Frontiers in Psychology, pets and human-animal interactions boast a bevy of health benefits for humans. “The presence of friendly animals, both familiar and unfamiliar, can effectively reduce heart rate and blood pressure or buffer increases in these parameters in anticipation of a stressor,” assert the study authors from the Department of Special Education at the University of Rostock in Germany.

Enter Goat Yoga, the practice of doing yoga among, you guessed it, a bunch of roaming goats. While fun and playful, it’s not entirely practical. As goats are natural-born climbers, they may try to take your Mountain Pose literally, or choose to take a rest on your mat. Still, YouTube videos of animal-loving yogis practicing Downward Dog while getting attention from a goat is enough to put a smile on your face and there’s certainly a positive benefit in that.

6. Laughter Yoga

An old adage does claim laughter is the best medicine, and Laughter Yoga takes the message to heart. “Laughter in combination with gentle yoga is a transformative practice no matter your age, yoga experience, or physical limitation,” says Darrin Zeer, author of Office Yoga, who teaches the practice in both corporate meetings and at resorts. “Your body doesn’t recognize the difference between real and fake laughter—endorphins are released either way.”

Incorporating choreographed belly laughs or giggles might feel, well, silly, but the potential benefits include lower blood pressure and reduced stress, according to Medical Hypothesis.

According to Zeer, his students feel “freed up” after a laughter session. “They state it loosens up their inhibitions and drastically relieves stress,” he says. “Like a euphoric sensation throughout the body and mind as if you had a glass of champagne.”

 

Related: Foam roll those aches and pains away by shopping rollers right here.

7. BUTI Yoga

Boasting a tagline that reads, “Sweat with intention,” BUTI Yoga pairs vinyasa yoga with primal movements, tribal dance, and plyometrics. Derived from an Indian term, Buti means “the cure to something that’s been hidden away or kept secret.”

The premise of the class, and what keeps students coming back for more, is harnessing your internal power to overcome fear or self-esteem issues. Powering through the challenging workout in a group setting allows both women and men to feed off one another’s energy, unleashing animal-like movements that may initially feel awkward, but become instinctual as one’s practice progresses.