Study Shows Yoga a Powerful Tool in Combating Anxiety, Depression
A Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) study provides evidence that yoga and breathing exercises can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety in both the short- and long-term.
For the study, a group of 30 clinically depressed patients were randomly divided into two groups.
Both groups engaged in Iyengar yoga and coherent breathing with the only difference being the number of instructional and home sessions in which each group participated.
Over three months, the high-dose group (HDG) spent 123 hours in sessions while the low-dose group (LDG) spent 87 hours.
Results showed that within a month, both groups’ sleep quality significantly improved.
Tranquility, positivity, physical exhaustion and symptoms of anxiety and depression significantly improved in both groups, as measured by several validated clinical scales
What the researchers said
Chris Streeter, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at BUSM, said: “Think of it this way, we give medications in different doses in order to enact their effects on the body to varying degrees.
“Here, we explored the same concept but used yoga. We call that a dosing study. Past yoga and depression studies have not really delved deeply into this.
Co-author Marisa M. Silveri, PhD, a neuroscientist at McLean Hospital and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said: “Providing evidence-based data is helpful in getting more individuals to try yoga as a strategy for improving their health and well-being.
“These data are crucial for accompanying investigations of underlying neurobiology that will help elucidate ‘how’ yoga works.”
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