User:Oskykins/Yoga

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Benefits

The physical aspect of what is called yoga in recent years, the asanas, has been much popularized in the West due to the vast amount of benefits.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Physically, the practice of asanas is considered to:

  • improve flexibility[8][9]
  • improve strength[8][9]
  • improve balance[8][9]
  • reduce stress and anxiety[8][9]
  • reduce symptoms of lower back pain[8][9]
  • be beneficial for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)[8][9]
  • increase energy and decrease fatigue[8][9]
  • shorten labor and improve birth outcomes[9]
  • improve physical health and quality of life measures in the elderly[9]
  • improve diabetes management[10]
  • reduce sleep disturbances[8][11]
  • reduce hypertension[12][13]
  • improve blood circulation[14]
  • reduce weight[15][16]

The emphasis on the physical benefits of yoga, attributed to practice of the asanas, has de-emphasized the other traditional purposes of yoga which are to facilitate the flow of prana (vital energy) and to aid in balancing the koshas (sheaths) of the physical and metaphysical body.

Potential benefits for adults

While much of the medical community regards the results of yoga research as significant, others point to many flaws which undermine results. Much of the research on yoga has taken the form of preliminary studies or clinical trials of low methodological quality, including small sample sizes, inadequate blinding, lack of randomization, and high risk of bias.[17][18][19] Long-term yoga users in the United States have reported musculoskeletal and mental health improvements, as well as reduced symptoms of asthma in asthmatics.[20] There is evidence to suggest that regular yoga practice increases brain GABA levels, and yoga has been shown to improve mood and anxiety more than some other metabolically-matched exercises, such as walking.[21][22] The three main focuses of Hatha yoga (exercise, breathing, and meditation) make it beneficial to those suffering from heart disease. Overall, studies of the effects of yoga on heart disease suggest that yoga may reduce high blood-pressure, improve symptoms of heart failure, enhance cardiac rehabilitation, and lower cardiovascular risk factors.[23] For chronic low back pain, specialist Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs has been found 30% more beneficial than usual care alone in a UK clinical trial.[24] Other smaller studies support this finding.[25][26] The Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs programme is the dominant treatment for society (both cheaper and more effective than usual care alone) due to 8.5 fewer days off work each year.[27] A research group from Boston University School of Medicine also tested yoga's effects on lower-back pain. Over twelve weeks, one group of volunteers practiced yoga while the control group continued with standard treatment for back pain. The reported pain for yoga participants decreased by one third, while the standard treatment group had only a five percent drop. Yoga participants also had a drop of 80% in the use of pain medication.[28]

There has been an emergence of studies investigating yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer patients. Yoga is used for treatment of cancer patients to decrease depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue and to increase anxiety control.[29] Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs include yoga as a mind-body technique to reduce stress. A study found that after seven weeks the group treated with yoga reported significantly less mood disturbance and reduced stress compared to the control group. Another study found that MBSR had showed positive effects on sleep anxiety, quality of life, and spiritual growth in cancer patients.[30]

Yoga has also been studied as a treatment for schizophrenia.[31] Some encouraging, but inconclusive, evidence suggests that yoga as a complementary treatment may help alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia and improve health-related quality of life.[32]

Implementation of the Kundalini Yoga Lifestyle has shown to help substance abuse addicts increase their quality of life according to psychological questionnaires like the Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale and the Quality of Recovery Index.[33]

Yoga has been shown in a study to have some cognitive functioning (executive functioning, including inhibitory control) acute benefit.[34]

Research activity

While much of the medical community views the results of Hatha Yoga research to be significant, others argue that there were many flaws that undermine results. Much of the research on Hatha Yoga has been in the form of preliminary studies or clinical trials of low methodological quality, including small sample sizes, inadequate blinding, lack of randomization, and high risk of bias.[17][35][36] As of 2011, evidence suggests that Hatha Yoga may be at least as effective at improving health outcomes as other forms of mild physical exercise when added to standard care. What is found most concerning regarding the legitimacy of Hatha Yoga as a method of healing is the current lack of specificity and standardization regarding the practice of Hatha Yoga. One recent study examined the difficulties of implementing Hatha Yoga-based therapies and methods of healing without any detailed, standardized and vetted descriptions of the asanas promoted as being beneficial for healing. This research calls for the creation of supported intervention practices that could be distributed and applied for use in clinical practice for patients.[37]

Hatha Yoga and Specific Mental Health Conditions

  • Anxiety and depression. A 2010 literature review of the research on the use of Hatha Yoga for treating depression said that preliminary research suggests that Hatha Yoga may be effective in the management of depression. Both the exercise and the mindfulness meditation components may be helpful. However the review cautioned that "Although results from these trials are encouraging, they should be viewed as very preliminary because the trials, as a group, suffered from substantial methodological limitations."[38]
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. No benefit.[17]
  • Dementia. There is some evidence that exercise programs may help people with dementia perform their daily activities.[39]

Hatha Yoga and Specific Physical Health Conditions

  • Back pain. There is evidence that Hatha Yoga may be effective in the management of chronic, but not acute, low back pain.[40] The results of another study on the efficacy of Hatha Yoga therapy for chronic low back pain showed that at around 24 weeks the Hatha Yoga group had statistically significant reductions in functional disability, pain intensity, and depression compared to a standard 6-months medical treatment. It was also concluded from this study that there was a significant trend in the Hatha Yoga group decreasing their use of pain medication compared that of the control group.[41]
  • Blood pressure. Although some evidence exists to suggest Hatha Yoga might help people with high blood pressure, overall this evidence is too weak for any recommendation to be made, and little is known of the safety implications of such an approach.[42]
  • Cancer. Practice of Hatha Yoga may improve quality-of-life measures in cancer patients. It is unclear what aspect(s) may be beneficial or what populations should be targeted.[43] Hatha Yoga has no effect on the underlying disease.[44]
  • Epilepsy. No benefit.[45]
  • Menopause-related symptoms. No benefit.[46]
  • Pediatric conditions. A 2009 systematic review concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of Hatha Yoga for any indication in the pediatric population. No adverse events were reported, and most trials were positive but of low methodological quality.[47]
  • Rheumatic disease. Only weak evidence exists to support the use of Hatha Yoga as a complementary therapy for helping people with rheumatic diseases, and little is known of the safety of such use.[48]

Mind-body connection

The therapeutic benefits of yoga have been discussed by van der Kolk, who explains that because regulation of physical movement is a fundamental priority of the nervous system, focusing on and developing an awareness of physical movement can lead to improved synchrony between mind and body. This is beneficial, he says, especially for those suffering from psychological conditions such as depression and PTSD (the focus of van der Kolk’s work), because an improved sense of connectedness between mind and body give rise to enhanced control and understanding of their "inner sensations" and state of being.[37]

Hatha Yoga and mindfulness

Yoga is a core component of the Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program. Drawing from recent research on the mental and physical benefits of practicing yoga, positive psychologists have begun to look deeper into the possibilities of utilizing yoga to improve life for people even in the absence of disease.[37]

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  4. "Yoga Health Benefits: Flexibility, Strength, Posture, and More". WEBMD. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  5. "Yoga and Spirituality". Art of Living. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
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  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Krisanaprakornkit, T.; Ngamjarus, C.; Witoonchart, C.; Piyavhatkul, N. (2010). "Meditation therapies for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Online) (6): CD006507. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006507.pub2. PMID 20556767.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Krisanaprakornkit2010" defined multiple times with different content
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  20. Birdee, Gurjeet S. et al. "Characteristics of Yoga Users: Results of a National Survey." Journal of General Internal Medicine. October 2008, Volume 23 Issue 10. p1653–1658
  21. "Yoga's ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety is linked to increased levels of a critical brain chemical, research finds". Sciencedaily.com. 12 November 2010. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0007. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  22. Streeter, Chris C. et al. "Effects of Yoga Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA Levels: A Randomized Controlled MRS Study." Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine. November 2010, Volume 16 Issue 11, p1145–115
  23. Yoga could be good for heart disease. Simultaneous focus on body, breathing, and mind may be just what the doctor ordered. (2010). Harvard Heart Letter: From Harvard Medical School, 21(3), 5. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
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  28. "Researchers Find Yoga May Be Effective For Chronic Low Back Pain In Minority Populations". Sciencedaily.com. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  29. DeStasio, Susan A. Integrating Yoga Into Cancer Care. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. February 2008, Volume 12 Issue 1. p125–130
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  31. "Yoga Health Benefits: Flexibility, Strength, Posture, and More". 
  32. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Schizophrenia
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  35. Ospina, M. B.; Bond, K.; Karkhaneh, M.; et al. (2008). "Clinical trials of meditation practices in health care: characteristics and quality". Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 14 (10): 199–213. 
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