For the practitioners, yoga is not only an exercise routine – it is a way of life. It is a lifestyle that implies not only the practical techniques and ideas but also unique bathing and eating habits, social interaction and prayer. Let us discover the facts about yoga therapy multiple benefits.
The practice of yoga has been shown to have many physical and mental health benefits – from aiding with depression and anxiety to improving overall body function and health. Yet, in this article I want to take the time and talk about the less known facts about yoga therapy and its effect on the human body.
Facts about Yoga Therapy – Positive effects on Children
Improves Psychosocial Life
A number of medical specialists have been advocating the benefits of implementing yoga as a part of the education program. There are numerous studies that show impressive improvements in the psychosocial life of students that have participated in yoga exercises. The students have reported an improved mood and better social interactions with their peers.
Even more impressive, students that have been assigned to yoga classes expressed better academic achievements and less substance abuse episodes than the ones following standard PE classes.
The results so far are very encouraging and education program from around the world should take note of these results and, at least, provide the option of following a yoga class, as an alternative to normal PE classes. You can access more on the study here.
Another study looked to investigate if yoga classes could aid to relieve trauma-related distress in children. There were a total of 76 children, with ages between 7 and 17, that participated in the study. The children were randomly selected for either yoga or dance classes.
The results showed that yoga can significantly improve symptoms of trauma-related distress in children. It is an acceptable exercise routine that showed impressive benefits for child physical and mental health. More on the study here.
Lowers the risk of Birth Complications
Pregnant women should not be afraid of doing exercises such as yoga. In fact, a study looked to show the benefits that yoga for women with high-risk pregnancies. The women assigned to the yoga group received 1-hour sessions of yoga, 3 times per week in addition to the standard care. The control group received conventional exercises in addition to the standard care.
The results showed clearly that participating in yoga practices can improve utero, fetal and placental circulation and even mitigate fetal growth.
The women in the yoga group had significantly fewer pregnancy complications such as pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia compared to the control group.
It is also important to that practicing yoga during pregnancy is also highly beneficial for the fetus. The APGAR scores in the yoga group were also significantly higher. More on the study can be found here.
Fact about Yoga Therapy – Increased Cognitive Function
The numerous facts about yoga therapy concerning mental health have been well studies and are evident. Yet even more impressive, recent studies have shown that yoga can not only increase cognitive performance, but also influence certain structural changes in the central nervous system.
A number of 15 studies have concluded that by practicing breathing, meditation and posture holding exercises an individual can increase his brain wave activity.
After participants to the studies underwent yoga classes, there has been a noted increase in activity of the amygdala, frontal cortex and an overall increase in gray matter volume in the limbic, temporal, frontal, occipital, and cerebellar regions of the brain.
This is most impressive, as researchers deduct that yoga intervention can be used as an effective treatment for the aging population. More on the study can be found here.
Facts about Yoga Therapy – Effects seen on a cellular level
Reduces Oxidative Stress
One of the well-known facts about yoga therapy is that it can control hypertension in practitioners, yet a study looked to see if it actually influence the underlying causes of primary hypertension as well. Oxidative stress has been identified as one of the leading underlying causes of hypertension in the elderly population.
A study enlisted 57 male participants, with the age between 60 and 80, diagnosed with Grade I hypertension. The participants were randomly assigned to yoga classes or walking, 1 hour a day, six days a week for a period of 3 months. At the end of the treatment period, the results found that the yoga group had significantly reduced levels of oxidative stress markers (MDA) and increased levels of antioxidants (SOD activity, vitamin C, serum GSH).
These results clearly show that yoga is effective not only in reducing oxidative stress within the body but also in increasing antioxidant defense mechanism in individuals. More on the study can be found here.
Combats Migraine symptoms
Migraines are debilitating headaches that usually require intense management and a myriad of medication in order to subside and control its symptoms. However, the medical community has been looking to closely study whether yoga can be utilized as an adjuvant therapy for controlling migraine symptoms, thus reducing the amount of medication needed by an individual.
A study enlisted 60 participants suffering of migraines, they were randomly assigned to either yoga classes or conventional care. The yoga group practiced 1-hour sessions, 5 days a week for a period of 6 weeks.
The participants assigned to the yoga group experienced headaches of reduced intensity and at a less frequent rate than the control group. A yoga therapy should be employed to help individuals suffering of migraines control and alleviate symptoms. More on the study can be found here.
The medical community fully supports the benefits of yoga practices and it even goes a step further, investigating every possible health effect of this practice. A number of 34 studies looked to investigate the effect of yoga on the immune system.
The results were unanimous, it showed that mind-body therapies such as yoga, have a modulatory effect on the human immune system. Practicing yoga actively reduces inflammation, limits fatigue and can even influence virus immune response to vaccinations. More on this study can be found here.
Yoga can be practiced by individuals of all ages and sizes, all cultures and beliefs. Its practices can be adapted so that even those that are not fully healthy can enjoy and reap its benefits. It’s philosophy rests on achieving mind-body balance, a thing we so desperately need in this fast paced world we live in. I hope learning some facts about yoga therapy will open some new doorways for some of you faithful readers.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about other gentle exercises, you might enjoy reading about the Medical uses of Tai Chi Chuan.
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