Science is a science. Yoga is…
A review of more than one hundred studies looking at 16 different different high-quality controlled studies focusing on the effects of yoga on depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, sleep complaints, eating disorders and cognition problems has concluded with positive results. Yay.
Yoga gets a lot of hype. Can it live up to it? And science?
“…yoga has become such a cultural phenomenon that it has become difficult for physicians and patients to differentiate legitimate claims from hype,” wrote the authors in their study. “Our goal was to examine whether the evidence matched the promise.”
Published in the open-access journal, Frontiers in Psychiatry, on January 25th, 2013, the review showed yoga to be “highly promising” as complimentary care to medication without the negative side effects.
Even more neato, evidence suggests that “yoga influences key elements of the human body thought to play a role in mental health in similar ways to that of antidepressants and psychotherapy.” One study acually found that (nerd alert) yoga affects neurotransmitters, inflammation, oxidative stress, lipids, growth factors and second messengers. Neat. O.
For this particular review there was limited or conflicting results with eating and cognition disorders and for those with severe depression versus mild depression (also, in the depression study the social interaction seemed to be a bonus and therefore “unscientific” for yoga study purposes), but overall, yoga helped improve sleep, reducing the need for sleep meds, and reduced depression scores. On top of that, yoga was found to not only help to improve symptoms, but it may also play an additional role in preventing stress-related mental illnesses. Now that’s a side effect we can live with.
Read more about the study here and here.
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- Learning to Receive and Restore: The Benefits and Significance of Restorative Yoga
love love love hearing this.
wondering what the studies show versus working out/being active and the effects that has on the brain. Is it the same results or even greater…
of course i think yoga would produce greater results.. but that’s very unscientific of me.
A recent study published in the Indian Journal of Physiological Pharmacology which has been creating a bunch of hype in some US publications like Psychological Science (so you know the study was well done), shows the Yoga for 75 mins a day is more effective at improving your executive functions than 75 mins of simple physical training!
As always, you have to reads the fine print:
“The authors also note that while the results are promising, the findings should be viewed as preliminary because all studies of yoga to date have consisted of small samples, and more rigorous research will be needed before the exercise can be applied to help patients with mental health disorders.”
Of course, there’s a “promising” connection — just as there is with more exercise, better diet, abstention from drinking and smoking, and a whole range of other “treatments.”
This is the same special pleading that has plagued yoga studies for decades , because the studies are driven by those who want to find what they are finding.
Despite Timothy McCall’s absurd attack just published here – from the very doctor flakking for the leading yoga business trade publication n0 less! – William Broad is the one who has clearly demonstrated that the state of science on yoga is poor.
Nothing’s changed all that much. When decent comparative studies are finally done, we might be able to say something more conclusive/
But it’s worth noting that the few comparative studies around, do not give yoga a leg up – as it were.
such disclaimers appear in every study and review.
the review, which is a “decent comparative study” can be read in full at http://www.frontiersin.org/Affective_Disorders_and_Psychosomatic_Research/10.3389/fpsyt.2012.00117/abstract
Yoga has helped me with anxiety and depression so so much. Happy to read that these studies back up my own experiences with science 🙂
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I am going on Yoga Classes and I can say that my mind and my body are better connected, and I feel so much better.