yoga science


Research has found yoga effective in areas of wellbeing


Scroll down to see how yoga can help you:

structural health

yoga for back pain

LOW-BACK-PAIN

The evidence for yoga helping with low back pain is well established

Three systematic reviews (Singh; 2016. Diaz 2013 & Cramer 2013) found yoga efficacious in

  • alleviating low back pain and disability
  • reducing medication usage and improving quality of life
  • reducing associated stress & depression

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NECK PAIN

Two systematic reviews on yoga for neck pain found positive links between yoga and reduction in pain and disability

  • Kim (2016) reviewed just 3 trials. Despite apparent benefits a high risk of bias emphasized the need for further well conducted studies
  • Crow (2015) reviewed 6 trials with 570 patients practising Iyengar yoga. The results are favourable for short term relief. Longer term benefit has yet to be demonstrated

WEAR-AND-TEAR ARTHRITIS

Osteo-arthritis (O/A) refers to joint pain associated with wear-and-tear

O/A is associated with age, but can happen in younger people, eg after injury

  • Kan (2016) systematically reviewed yoga for knee osteo-arthritis and found improvements in pain and mobility within two weeks of yoga practice

internal health

individual practising yoga and meditation

CARDIO-VASCULAR

A recent review (Chu 2014) found yoga improved cardiovascular health and metabolic syndrome* at levels comparable to aerobic exercise, with positive effects on

  • body-mass index
  • blood pressure
  • heart-rate
  • & blood cholesterol

*(Metabolic syndrome combines high blood pressure, high blood sugar, over-weight and abnormal cholesterol levels, and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke)


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RESPIRATORY

Cramer (2014) reviewed yoga for asthma

Despite a lack of evidence for yoga being superior to "sham" yoga or general exercise, the team concluded that there was a demonstrably positive effect on respiratory functions and quality of life compared to usual care and psychological methods of management

Other areas of research

Fibromyalgia

  • Efficacy and safety of meditative movement therapies in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review
    • Langhorst J, Klose P, Dobos GJ. Rheumatol Int. 2013

Headache

  • Effects of yoga exercises for headaches: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials
    • Sang-Dol Kim, RN, PhD; J Phys Ther Sci. 2015

mental health

individual practising yoga and meditation

STRESS

Chong (2011) reviwed the effects of yoga on stress-associated symptoms. The 8 studies included described beneficial effects from practising yoga:

"Despite some studies using less than adequate measurement methods, there is positive evidence that yoga can reduce perceived stress as effectively as relaxation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and dance"


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ANXIETY

Kirkwood (2005) systematically reviewed the effectiveness of yoga for the treatment of clinical anxiety, concluding:

"Owing to the diversity of conditions treated and the poor quality of most of the studies, it is still not possible to say that yoga is effective in treating anxiety or anxiety disorders in general, but there are encouraging results, particularly with obsessive compulsive disorder"

DEPRESSION

Systematic reviews by Pilkington (2004 ) and Cramer et al (2013) have found a positive role for yoga in depression

Cramer included twelve trials with 619 participants. Three had a low risk of bias. They conclude:

"Despite methodological drawbacks of the included studies, yoga could be considered an ancillary treatment option for patients with depressive disorders..." (Cramer, 2013)

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