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Let’s talk about the health benefits of yoga

Yoga & Mindfulness

In this technological maelstrom of fast food and even quicker fixes, the growing practice of yoga and mindfulness techniques continues to offer shelter from the constant barrage of hustle and bustle. Even if you do not practice yoga, you may have at least heard that it may be good for you. Although yoga does offer benefits that can be therapeutic, unfortunately Western medicine has yet to fully incorporate yoga and other alternative therapies into treatment for chronic diseases. Despite this there is research available that has confirmed the viability of yoga as a healing mechanism that can assist with chronic disease, psychological issues, depression, anxiety, reducing blood pressure, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, fatigue, cholesterol, maintaining blood sugar levels, insomnia, increasing muscle strength and respiratory endurance, and the list goes on.

Some of these studies include:

  • In 2017, a study published in the International Journal of Yoga, had 64 healthy participants practice yoga in the morning for an hour daily and a control group that did not practice yoga. The BMI (body mass index) and blood pressure of the participants were recorded throughout the trial. The study found that the group that practiced yoga daily, had a decreased BMI, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers at the end of one month.
  • In 2017, a study conducted on 38 adults in San Francisco with major depressive disorder showed that in adults with mild-to-moderate major depression, an 8-week hatha yoga intervention with practice twice a week resulted in significant reductions in depression severity.
  • In 2009 a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health studied a group of adolescent girls, some with bulimia and others with anorexia; one group had regular treatment, and the other treatment and regular yoga. The findings showed that the girls not in the yoga group were more likely to have symptoms return at the end of the treatment period.
  • In 1998 Dr. Ralph Schumacher at UPENN School of Medicine along with yoga instructor Marian Garfield published their findings on the study of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome in the Journal of American Medical Association basically summing up that “a yoga regimen is more effective than wrist splinting or no treatment in relieving signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.”
  • In 1990 patients with heart disease were prescribed a vegetarian low fat diet and yoga regimen. At the completion of the study it was found that their cholesterol levels were about the same as if they had taken cholesterol lowering drugs. A follow up report was published in 1998 in the American Journal of Cardiology showing that 80% of the patients were able to avoid bypass by maintaining their prescribed lifestyle changes.

These studies represent just a few examples of how yoga can improve your overall health by reducing stress levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, assisting with recovery from depression, eating disorders and more. Given this mounting research, why isn’t the use of yoga as a healing modality prescribed by doctors? There’s no money in it. At least not for the insurance companies or the pharmaceutical industry that usually profit from studies that confirm viable use of a range of medications. These days, it is up to us, the consumers, to take ownership of our health and  well being by learning how nutrition and alternative therapies can help us heal and thrive.

For more information about yoga practice check out our yoga page!

References:

Chauhan A, Semwal DK, Mishra SP, Semwal RB. Yoga Practice Improves the Body
Mass Index and Blood Pressure: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Yoga. 2017
May-Aug;10(2):103-106. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_46_16. PubMed PMID: 28546682;
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5433109.

Corliss, R. (2001, April 15). The Power Of Yoga. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,106356,00.html

Prathikanti, S., Rivera, R., Cochran, A., Tungol, J. G., Fayazmanesh, N., & Weinmann, E. (2017). Treating major depression with yoga: A prospective, randomized, controlled pilot trial. PLoS ONE, 12(3), e0173869. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0173869

 

 
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