It’s Past Time to Look at Yoga
Patients & Friends,
There was a time when if you said you were going to do Yoga and chant mantras on the lawn and asked if I would care to join you, I’d have looked at you like you were crazy. Oh well, nevermind, I still would. That said, while those of you who know me are aware I’m not into the “religion” associated with yoga (or chiropractic for that matter), it may be past time to take a hard look at the exercises themselves.
A growing number of studies suggest yoga may reduce such stress disorder type problems as migraine duration and disability, improve blood chemistry and problems associated with type 2 diabetes (reducing BMI and chemicals associated with oxidative stress), and even improve thinking and performance in older adults, as examples of just some of the recent benefits associated with patients randomized to yoga as opposed to regular stretching-strengthening or other control measures.
But among the most provocative of the recent studies on the role of Yoga in ameliorating the dangerous effects of stress, may be a work published in this month’s Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, regarding use of Yoga as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. Of 34 women with chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder randomized to trauma-informed Yoga, 16 (52%) no longer met PTSD criteria after just 10 weeks of one-hour long classes. In contrast, only 6 of 29 (21%) subjects randomized to supportive women’s health education had similar improvement after 10 weeks. The scientists concluded that the effect size of yoga was comparable to effect sizes seen using well-researched psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic approaches.
For patients of our clinic, the bad news is that I am not a good resource for detailed questions regarding yoga postures and exercises, but the good news is that our staff massage therapist, Robbie Leach, MT (LMT2002), is an excellent resource and an advocate for and student of yoga. Please do feel free to e-mail him with your questions, or discuss this resource with him during your next visit for massage services.
Robert A. Leach, DC, MS, FICC(h), CHES
A recent pilot study indicated yoga may help reduce the duration and disability associated with Migraine headaches: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25041058
Recent original research of the benefits of yoga for reduction in oxidative stress in Type 2 diabetes is provocative: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/34/10/2208.full
Just 8-weeks of Hatha yoga improved executive function measures of working memory capacity and efficiency compared with patients randomized to standard stretching-strengthening: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25024234
While both trauma informed yoga and women’s health education yielded improvement in post traumatic stress symptoms initially, only yoga participants had sustained improvement in a recent randomized trial published in June 2014: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25004196