Category Archives: Yoga

Science behind How Yoga is beneficial for persistent pain conditions

Category : Yoga

Yoga originated in India and has been practiced for approximately 4,000 years. The goal of yoga is to unite the mind and body in a way that promotes health.

Although there are different schools of yoga, there are key elements that cut across most of these schools, including breathing exercises (pranayama), postures (asanas), and meditation (dhyana).

The Hatha yoga protocol applied to the management of persistent pain, include relaxation techniques, breath control techniques and gentle postures tailored to specific individual needs.

Several scientific explanation are given on the benefits of yoga for persistent pain conditions.

Some of them are as follows

Physiological changes

The regular practice of yoga can produce physiological changes that helps to alter the pain experience, say decreases in sympathetic nervous system activity (e.g., decreases in heart rate).

A study was conducted to determine whether novices to yoga would be able to reduce their heart rate voluntarily and whether the magnitude of reduction would be more after 30 days of yoga training. The result of the scientific study clearly suggested that yoga training can enable practitioners to use their own strategies to reduce the heart rate, which has possible therapeutic applications. [source link]

Yoga practice has proven to aid in reductions in inflammatory markers (e.g., tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-II, CRP).

An 8-week regimen of yoga introduced in patients with heart failure in addition to standard medical therapy has shown that Yoga improved exercise tolerance, positively affected levels of inflammatory markers and there was also a trend toward improvements in quality of life. [source link]

Studies has shown that Yoga helps to improve mood, significant decrease in symptoms of depression, anxiety, negative mood and fatigue. Hence, Yoga successfully helps in reduction of stress markers (e.g., cortisol). [source link]

Yoga practice increases in flexibility, strength, circulation, and cardiorespiratory capacity.

In 2004, the Nephrology Department of  Uludag University Faculty of Medicine conducted clinical research in  patients with end-stage renal disease. In which, 37 clinically stable hemodialysis patients participated and were divided into two groups. The modified yoga-based exercise group has 19 patients and 18 were in the control group. Yoga-based exercises were done in groups for 30 min/day twice a week for 3 months. All of the patients in the yoga and control groups were given an active range of motion exercises to do for 10 min at home. The main outcome measures were pain intensity (measured by the visual analogue scale, VAS), fatigue (VAS), sleep disturbance (VAS), and grip strength (mmHg); biochemical variables– urea, creatinine, calcium, alkaline phosphatase, phosphorus, cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglyceride, erythrocyte, hematocrit–were evaluated.

After 12 week, improvement of the variables in the yoga-based exercise program was found to be superior to that in the control group for all the variables except calcium, phosphorus, HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels. [source link]

Behavioral changes

Building a  regular practice of yoga may produce behavioral changes that influence pain.  There was an interesting Yoga study, which shows that the duration of daily practice is related to same day improvements in pain, as well as next day improvements in pain, fatigue, invigoration, acceptance and relaxation. [source studie]

Psychological changes

There has been many scientific research which demonstrated that yoga can produce psychological changes, such as increased awareness of mental and physical states. This in turn may help patients better understand their pain.

Yoga has also been shown to increase the frequency of positive emotions [source link], which could potentially undo the physiological effects of negative emotions, broaden cognitive processes (e.g., taking a broader perspective on problems), and build physical (e.g., improved sense of health), social (e.g., improved social support) and psychological (e.g., optimism) resources [source link].

Yoga may also increase pain acceptance—the willingness to experience pain and acknowledge negative thoughts and emotions [source link], while remaining committed to pursuing valued goals.

Finally, it is possible that yoga can lead to improvements in self-efficacy for pain control.

Final conclusion

Yoga has shown promising results for managing persistent pain.

Yoga could be used as a tool to help patients better address the biological, social, and psychological aspects of persistent pain.


Yoga proven to be effective therapy for fibromyalgia

yoga for fibromyalgiaFibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, depression, and hypocortisolism.

A pilot study used a time series design to evaluate pain, psychological variables, mindfulness, and cortisol in women with FM before and after a yoga intervention. (Scientific study: source)

Total of 22 Participants were recruited from the community to participate in a 75 minute yoga class twice weekly for 8 weeks. Questionnaires concerning pain (intensity, unpleasantness, quality, sum of local areas of pain, catastrophizing, acceptance, disability), anxiety, depression, and mindfulness were administered pre-, mid- and post-intervention. Salivary cortisol samples were collected three times a day for each of two days, pre- and post-intervention.

The results suggest that a yoga intervention may reduce pain and catastrophizing, increase acceptance and mindfulness, and alter total cortisol levels in women with fibromyalgia .

Another study aimed to verify whether techniques of yoga with and without the addition of Tui Na might improve pain and the negative impact of fibromyalgia on patients’ daily life. (Scientific study: source)

Total 40 women with fibromyalgia were randomized into two groups, Relaxing Yoga (RY) and Relaxing Yoga plus Touch (RYT), for eight weekly sessions of stretching, breathing, and relaxing yogic techniques. RYT patients were further submitted to manipulative techniques of Tui Na.

Outcome measures comprised the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), pain threshold at the 18 FMS tender points, and a verbal graduation of pain assessed before treatment and on the followup. The visual analog scale (VAS) for pain was assessed before and after each session and on the follow-up.

 

In conclusion, results showed that yogic techniques are valid therapeutic methods for fibromyalgia. Touch addition yielded greater improvement during the treatment. Over time, however, RY patients reported less pain than RYT. These results suggest that a passive therapy may possibly decrease control over Fibromyalgia symptoms.

A  sample of 53 female FM patients were randomized to the 8-week Yoga of Awareness program.

Data were analyzed by intention to treat. At post-treatment, women assigned to the yoga program showed significantly greater improvements on standardized measures of Fibromyalgia symptoms and functioning  including pain, fatigue, and mood, and in pain catastrophizing, acceptance, and other coping strategies. This pilot study provides promising support for the potential benefits of a yoga program for women with fibromyalgia. (Scientific study: source)

In conclusion:

Yoga is proven to be effective therapeutic effect on people with fibromyalgia.

How yoga can help in fibromyalgia?

A special yoga classes for fibromyalgia consist of gentle poses, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga-based coping instructions, and group discussions.  It effectively reduces the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Some of the potential benefits of yoga for fibromyalgia patients include

  • Improvement of coping skills.
  • Improves mood.
  • Reduces pain and fatigue.
  • Increase acceptance and mindfulness.
  • Reduces anxiety and depression.
  • Alter total cortisol level.
  • Reduces other fibromyalgia symptoms, like chronic muscle pain, muscle spasms, stifness or tightness.

How yoga helped you in managing pain or health concerns like fibromyalgia ? Which asana (posture) or breathing exercise you find it more helpful? Share your thoughts in comments below!


Yoga proven to be helpful for the treatment of Bronchial Asthma

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Category : Yoga

yoga for asthma treatmentAsthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways.

The chronic inflammation causes an associated increase in airway hyperresponsiveness that leads to recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing at night or in the early morning.

The outline of  Yoga classes for asthma generally include a set of breathing and relaxation techniques including breath slowing exercises (pranayama), physical postures (yogasanas), and meditation.

Most of the studies have reported, as the effects of yoga on bronchial asthma, significant improvements in pulmonary functions, quality of life, and decrease in medication use. 

A study has been conducted to evaluate the effect of yoga on biochemical profile of asthmatics. (Scientific study :source)

A total 276 patients of mild to moderate asthma (FEV 1> 60%) aged between 12 to 60 years were participated in this study. They were randomly divided into two groups:

Yoga group (with standard medical treatment and yogic intervention) and control group as standard medical treatment (without yogic intervention).

At completion of 6 months of the study period, 35 subjects were dropped out, so out of 276 subjects, only 241 subjects completed the whole study (121 subjects from yoga group and 120 subjects from control group). Biochemical assessment was carried out at baseline and after 6 months of the study period.

Result has shown that in yoga group, there was significant improvement found in the proportion of hemoglobin and antioxidant superoxide dismutase in comparison to control group and significant decrease was found in total leukocyte count (TLC) and differential leukocytes count in comparison to control group. There was no significant change found in TLC, polymorphs, and monocytes in between group comparison.

Yoga group got significantly better improvement in biochemical variables than control group. Result shows that yoga can be practiced as adjuvant therapy with standard inhalation therapy for better outcome of asthma.

Another study has shown that yoga impart a significant degree of relaxation, positive attitude, and better yoga exercise tolerance. There was also a tendency toward lesser usage of beta adrenergic inhalers. (Scientific study: Source)

To investigate whether autonomic functions and pulmonary functions are improved in asthma patients after short term yoga training, a study was conducted with nine diagnosed bronchial asthma patients. (Scientific study: Source)

The results closely indicated the reduction in sympathetic reactivity and improvement in the pulmonary ventilation by way of relaxation of voluntary inspiratory and expiratory muscles.

Conclusion

Yoga is proven to be effective treatment for asthma problem.

How yoga can help people with Asthma?

The comprehensive yogic life style change for patients of Bronchial Asthma have shown significant benefit even within a short period.

Benefits of yoga for asthma patients

  • Improve pulmonary functions.
  • Improve proportion of hemoglobin and antioxidant superoxide dismutase.
  • Decreases total leukocyte count (TLC) and differential leukocytes count.
  • Improve quality of life.
  • Promote relaxation.
  • Build positive attitude.
  • Decreases the use of beta adrenergic inhalers.
  • Decrease in medication use.

How yoga helped you in managing stress or health concerns like Asthma? Which asana (posture) or breathing exercise you find it more helpful? Share your thoughts in comments below!


Yoga proven effective for hypertension patients

Category : Yoga

Hatha yoga for hypertension high BPHypertension is a major public health problem and one of the most important causes of premature morbidity and mortality. Yoga is a traditional Indian practice that has been adapted for use in complementary and alternative medicine and mainly includes physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation.

Lifestyle modification is a cornerstone of hypertension (HPT) treatment, yet most recommendations currently focus on diet and exercise and do not consider stress reduction strategies.

Does yoga therapy reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension?

Yes, yoga works because it modulates the physiological system of the body, specifically its effect on the heart rate. Also, yoga presents an effective method of treating hypertension that is nonpharmacologic and therefore there are no adverse effects and there are other valuable health benefits. Research suggests that stress is a contributing factor to high BP; hence, the use of the general adaptation syndrome and the most important attribute of yoga, that is, it is a physical and mental exercise program, that is in sync with the philosophy of holistic nursing care where one treats the whole individual and not just the disease. {source}

Yoga and hypertension

A systematic review of all published studies on yoga and hypertension was performed revealing 39 cohort studies, 30 nonrandomized, controlled trials (NRCTs), 48 randomized, controlled trials (RCTs), and 3 case reports with durations ranging from 1 week to 4 years and involving a total of 6693 subjects. Most studies reported that yoga effectively reduced BP in both normotensive and hypertensive populations. {source}

How yoga can help manage blood pressure?

Yoga is a spiritual path that may reduce blood pressure (BP) through reducing stress, increasing parasympathetic activation, and altering baroreceptor sensitivity. {source}

Effect of yogic breathing techniques (pranayama) in patients with hypertension

Breathing exercises practiced in various forms of meditations such as yoga may influence autonomic functions. This may be the basis of therapeutic benefit to hypertensive patients.

A study conducted to evaluate the effect of breathing exercise on hypertension. Subjects comprised 60 male and female patients aged 20-60 years with stage 1 essential hypertension.

Patients were randomly and equally divided into the control and other two intervention groups, who were advised to do 3 months of slow-breathing and fast-breathing exercises, respectively.

Study results shows slow breathing had a stronger effect than fast breathing. BP decreased longitudinally over a 3-month period with both interventions.

Study concluded that both types of breathing exercises benefit patients with hypertension. However, improvement in both the sympathetic and parasympathetic reactivity may be the mechanism that is associated in those practicing the slow-breathing exercise. {source}

The Efficacy and Safety of Yoga in Managing Hypertension.

Yoga can be considered a safe and effective intervention for managing hypertension. {source}

The impact of yoga as a complementary intervention for hypertension has been investigated in a number of randomized controlled trials; with an overall effect of about 10 mmHg reduction in systolic and about 8 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure.

Breathing and meditation rather than physical activity seem to be the active part of yoga interventions for hypertensive patients. These practices can increase parasympathic activity and decrease sympathetic activity, arguably mainly by increasing GABA activity; thus counteracting excess activity of the sympathetic nervous system which has been associated with hypertension.

Must do for hypertension/ high BP patients

  • Healthy lifestyle modification
  • Reduce stress from life
  • Find and practice better stress coping techniques
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Do yoga- asana (postures), breathing exercise (pranayama), and meditation

Yoga has numerous benefits. Some of the specific, modern science proven benefits of yoga for high BP patients include

  • Improve the lifestyle
  • Improve stress coping strategies
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduces stress
  • Effective emotions-coping strategy
  • Cultivate mindfulness and consciousness
  • Improved sense of well being

How yoga helped you in managing stress or health concerns like hypertension? Which asana (posture) or breathing exercise you find it more helpful? Share your thoughts in comments below!


Yoga effective for diabetes proven research

yoga for diabetesYoga and Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which has become a major health challenge worldwide.

Modern science evidence confirming benefits of yoga for diabetes

Pranayama (therapeutic breathing) and yoga postures have a therapeutic effect on cognitive brain functions in type 2 diabetes patients

A study consist of sixty patients of type 2 diabetes were recruited from diabetic clinic and divided into two groups – control group on only conventional medical therapy and yoga-group on conventional medical therapy along with pranayama and yoga-asana.

Study concluded that yoga has a beneficial effect on P300 or P3 (a component of endogenous cerebral evoked response that assesses higher functions of the brain) and thus can be incorporated along with the conventional medical therapy for improving cognitive brain functions in diabetes. {source}

The practice of Yoga-nidra improves treatment outcomes in type 2 diabetic patients on oral hypoglycemics.

A study was conducted on 41, middle aged, type-2 diabetic patients, who were on oral hypoglycaemic, to evaluate the effect of Yoga-Nidra on blood glucose level in diabetic patients.

These patients were divided in to two groups: (a) 20 patients on oral hypoglycaemic with yoga-nidra, and (b) 21 were on oral hypoglycaemic alone.

Yoga-nidra practiced for 30 minutes daily up to 90 days, parameters were recorded every 30th day. Results of this study showed that most of the symptoms were subsided, and fall of mean blood glucose level was significant after 3-month of Yoga-nidra.

Results of this study suggest that subjects on Yoga-nidra with drug regimen had better control in their fluctuating blood glucose and symptoms associated with diabetes, compared to those were on oral hypoglycaemics alone. {source}

Yoga has a positive role in modifying certain cardiovascular functions in type 2 diabetic patients.

A research conducted to study the effect of forty days of Yogic exercises on cardiac functions and on blood glucose level in Type 2 Diabetics. The yoga expert gave these patients training in yoga asanas and they pursued those 30-40 min/day for 40 days under guidance.

The results indicate that there was significant decrease in fasting blood glucose levels, post prandial blood glucose levels, and glycosylated hemoglobin, after yoga regimen. The pulse rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure also decreased significantly after yoga.

Study findings suggest that better glycaemic control and stable autonomic functions can be obtained in Type 2 DM cases with yoga asanas and pranayama. {source}

Yoga offers a promising lifestyle intervention for decreasing weight related type 2 diabetes risk factors and potentially increasing psychological well-being.

A pilot study to collect feasibility and preliminary efficacy data on yoga for diabetes risk factors among people at high risk of diabetes. Primary outcomes included: changes in BMI, waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, postprandial blood glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, blood pressure, and cholesterol. This study also looked at measures of psychological well-being including changes in depression, anxiety, positive and negative affect and perceived stress.

Forty-one participants with elevated fasting blood glucose in were randomized to either yoga (n = 21) or a walking control (n = 20). Participants were asked to either attend yoga classes or complete monitored walking 3-6 days per week for eight weeks.

The study result found that participation in an 8-week yoga intervention was feasible and resulted in greater weight loss and reduction in waist circumference when compared to a walking control. {source}

Yoga therapy reduces hyperglycemia and the quantities of oral hypoglycemic drugs in patients with type 2 diabetes.

A combination of elementary simple yoga positions, relaxation exercise and respiratory exercise has clinically shown marked improvement in external respiration and blood counts. {source}

Subjects with type 2 diabetes in yoga practice reduced body mass index, improved well-being, and reduced anxiety.

A study was conducted to examine the effect of yoga practice on clinical and psychological outcomes in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Study results concluded that participation of subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus in yoga practice for 40 days resulted in reduced body mass index (BMI), improved total general well being, and reduced anxiety. {source}

Conclusion

Yoga may be an effective type 2 diabetes prevention strategy.

How yoga can help people with diabetes?

Some of the proven benefits of yoga for diabetes patients include

  • Improved cognitive brain functions
  • Better control at fluctuating blood glucose
  • Reduced body mass index(BMI)
  • Improved well being
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Greater weight loss
  • Reduction in waist circumference
  • Stable autonomic nervous system functions
  • Reduces risk of other diabetic related problems

Are you or someone you know is suffering from diabetes? Did yoga helped you in managing diabetes and other related problems? Which asana or posture did you find most useful? Share your thoughts in the comment below!


Hatha yoga effective for anxiety and depression

Category : Yoga

Hatha yoga for stress and depressionWhat does hatha yoga class involves?

Hatha yoga practice involves combination of  postures (asanas), purification techniques (shatkriya), gestures (mudras), breathing (pranayama), and meditation.

Scientific research proving effectiveness of Hatha yoga for anxiety and depression

Rapid stress and anxiety reduction within three month hatha yoga program

A controlled study conducted in 24 women with emotional and mental distress. Subjects were offered participation in 3-months yoga programs. After 3 months significant improvements shown on stress and psychological outcomes. Significant improvements in perceived stress, State and Trait Anxiety, well-being, vigor, fatigue and depression. Physical well-being also increased, and those subjects suffering from headache or back pain reported marked pain relief. {source}

Hatha yoga effective practice to reduce anxiety before and after practice

The search identified 17 studies (11 waitlist controlled trials) totaling 501 participants who received Hatha yoga and who reported their levels of anxiety before and after the practice. Study result shows hatha yoga treatment efficacy was positively associated with the total number of hours practiced. People with elevated levels of anxiety benefited the most. {source}

Prenatal yoga reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety

Prenatal yoga was found to be a feasible and acceptable intervention and was associated with reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression.

A study conducted on  46 pregnant women with symptoms of depression and anxiety to an 8-week yoga intervention or treatment-as-usual (TAU). Yoga was associated with high levels of credibility and satisfaction as an intervention for depression and anxiety during pregnancy. Participants in both conditions reported significant improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety over time; and yoga was associated with significantly greater reduction in negative affect as compared to TAU. {source}

Yoga and meditation based relaxation boost mood, reduces anxiety and improve memory

Yoga and meditation can alleviate stress, anxiety, mood disturbance, and musculoskeletal problems, and can enhance cognitive and physical performance.

A controlled study evaluated the benefits of yoga and meditation for musicians.  A group of 15 Young adult professional musicians each who volunteered to participate in a 2-month program of yoga and meditation were randomized to a yoga lifestyle intervention group  or to a group of  practicing yoga and meditation only. Additional 15 musicians were recruited to a no-practice control group. Both yoga groups attended three Yoga or meditation classes each week. The yoga lifestyle group also experienced weekly group practice and discussion sessions as part of their more immersive treatment.

Both yoga groups showed a trend towards less music performance anxiety and significantly less general anxiety/tension, depression, and anger at end-program relative to controls. Results shows that yoga and meditation techniques yoga and meditation techniques themselves may have mediated the improvements, can reduce performance anxiety and mood disturbance in young professional musicians. {source}

Immediate anxiety relief and improved memory after a cyclical combination of yoga postures and meditation class

A yoga practice involving cycles of yoga postures and supine rest (called cyclic meditation) was previously shown to improve performance in attention tasks more than relaxation in the corpse posture (shavasana).

A study of fifty-seven male volunteers the immediate effect of two yoga relaxation techniques was studied on memory and state anxiety. All participants were assessed before and after (i) Cyclic meditation (CM) practiced for 22:30 minutes on one day and (ii) an equal duration of Supine rest (SR) or the corpse posture (shavasana), on another day.

Study result shows significant improvement in the scores of all sections of the Wechsler memory scale (WMS) studied after both CM and SR, but, the magnitude of change was more after CM compared to after SR. The state anxiety scores decreased after both CM and SR, with a greater magnitude of decrease after CM. {source}

Yoga may facilitate neuroplasticity through stress reduction in depressed patients

Depression is associated with low serum Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and elevated levels of serum cortisol. Yoga practices have been associated with antidepressant effects, increase in serum BDNF, and reduction in serum cortisol.

Study examined the association between serum BDNF and cortisol levels in drug-naïve patients with depression treated with antidepressants, yoga therapy, and both.

Study results shows significant improvement in depression scores and serum BDNF levels, and reduction in serum cortisol in the yoga groups. In conclusion, yoga may facilitate neuroplasticity through stress reduction in depressed patients. {source}

Conclusion

Hatha yoga is a promising prevention and treatment of stress-related disease like anxiety, depression and improve memory.

Do you practice yoga and mediation for stress management? Which yoga poses and meditation do you prefer ? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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