Several studies have been analyzing the effects of doing yoga and its possible use in dealing with depression. According to their results, yoga-related exercise can bring significant benefits for people dealing with depression of all sorts, including chronic and treatment-resistant sufferers.
The results of the studies were presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the APA, the American Psychological Association.
Practicing Yoga to Ease Depression, but Which Types were Tested?
One of the research teams concentrated on the potentially beneficial effects of hatha yoga. This is a branch which emphasizes physical movement but also breathing and meditative exercises, with the purpose of enhancing the well being.
Lindsey Hopkins, part of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, conducted this study which involved 23 male veterans.
Hopkins was also involved in another similar research, carried out together with Sarah Shalit. She is an M.A. from San Francisco’s Alliant University. This other study focused on Bikram yoga or heated yoga, which is a type of hatha yoga more commonly practiced in the West.
It involved 52 participants with ages in between 25 to 45 years old. They were asked to participate twice every week, for eight weeks, to such yoga classes.
A team of researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital also presented the results of their pilot study involving 29 adults.
These are also just some of the study teams to present their results of research targeted on the benefits of yoga in trying to ease depression.
Yoga, Not yet a Solution, a Possible Helper?
“These studies suggest that yoga-based interventions have promise for depressed mood and that they are feasible for patients with chronic, treatment-resistant depression,” stated Nina Vollbehr, a study lead from the Center for Integrative Psychiatry in the Netherlands.
As some of the researchers pointed out, yoga is becoming an increasingly more widespread practice. Many of its practitioners tie their decision to take it up to its being a stress reduction technique. They also point out its benefits in dealing with other mental health concerns and possible issues.
However, the empirical data for this connection was somewhat lacking and only in the earliest stages.
“Clearly, yoga is not a cure-all. However, based on empirical evidence, there seems to be a lot of potential,” stated Hopkins.
She adds that it is also too soon to say that using yoga could cure depression. However, it was already noted to be useful as a way of easing it, and more research on the matter should bring further insight on the matter.
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