|Outline: Click on a topic to go to that section|
|STUDIES THAT SHOW POSITIVE RESULTS|
|RELIEF OF STRESS|
|RELIEF OF MINOR ACHES AND PAINS|
|RELIEF OF SYMPTOMS OF HIV/AIDS|
|STUDIES THAT SHOW NEGATIVE RESULTS|
|RELIEF OF CHRONIC IDIOPATHIC TINNITUS|
|DOES YOGA REALLY HELP?|
What is yoga and how is it helpful to the average person? Many people hear the word "yoga" and think of some sort of stretching and breathing, but yoga is much more complex then this. Yoga is actually "characterized by body alignment." In other words it consists of many different "poses" that stretch and relax the entire body. Yoga is not just about someone sitting on the floor twisting their body. Blocks, straps, blankets, mats, and chairs are all used to enhance positions and to make sure each position is executed properly. Does yoga really benefit one's health, or is it just a waste of time? We have some answers to these questions.
There are many confusing and conflicting claims made about all alternative medicines. Yoga is included in this, but hopefully we can figure some of them out.
People have claimed that yoga has had positive effects on them. Some believe that it helps them psychologically, some mentally, some, a combination of the two. Most people relate yoga to the relief of stress, or minor pains. Does it really work, though?
Many studies were done to observe the effect yoga had on the relief of stress. One of these studies, done in 1994, was conducted on two groups of young women. One group was a control group and the other practiced yoga. All the volunteers read in a comfortable position for an extended period of time. Then, heart rate, blood pressure, certain hormones and psychological factors were measured and compared. The results seemed to be favor the women who had practiced yoga. First, there was a huge difference in heart rate. The group that practiced yoga had a large decrease of heart rate during yoga. The most significant difference was in psychological parameters. Each group took a survey of questions that evaluated life satisfaction, excitability, aggressiveness, openness, emotionality, and somatic complaints. The group that practiced yoga was less aggressive, less excitable, evaluated their life satisfaction higher, had less somatic complaints, and was in higher spirits. This is evidence of a lower stress level in the women who engaged in yoga.
Another study, done in 1995, on elite runners and highly trained meditators. The runners and meditators were matched in age, sex, and personality. There was an equal positive mood change for both groups. This shows that meditation and yoga are very similar to exercise when it comes to relieving stress and enhancing mood.
A study was done in 1994 to see how yoga affected osteoarthritis of the hands. Two groups were again chosen to participate in the study. The first group was a control group that had no treatment and the other group practiced yoga once a week for eight weeks. After the eight weeks pain, strength, motion, joint circumference, tenderness, and hand function were assessed. The group that had studied yoga had less pain and tenderness, and a greater range of motion, where as the control group had much less significant progress.
Yoga has been used experimentally on patients with HIV/AIDS to help slow the progression of the disease. Yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, and to increase energy and stamina. There is little evidence supporting an increase in the immune system, but it does seem to help psychologically. Yoga has also been shown to reduce the side affects of medicines that HIV/AIDS patients are using.
Patients with this disease suffer from depression, hopelessness, helplessness, irritability, and insomnia. In a study done in 1995, patients with chronic idiopathic tinnitus were evaluated in a randomized control group design. Two treatments were used in the study. One was yoga and the other method was TCT, or tinnitus coping training. There was also a control group. Yoga showed very poor effects. In most cases the TCT group showed great improvement, while the yoga and contol groups showed little improvement.
Yoga does seem to have an effect on stress and minor aches and pains.
It also seems that yoga has a great effect on the psychological factors
of diseases. Yoga can almost always be used in addition to traditional
healing methods, especially with diseases that involve psychological stress
Kroner-Herwig, B., Hebing, C., van Rijn-Kalkmann, LT., Schilkowskv,
G., Frenzel, A., Esser, G. (1995). The management of chronic tinnitias--comparison
of a cognitive-behavioral group training with yoga. Journal of Psvchosomatic
Twelve years of experience with Yoga in psychiatry. International
Journal of Psvchosomatics, 40(1-4):105-7.
Schell, F.,j. , Allolin, B. , Schonecke, O.W., (1 994) . Psysiological
and psychological effects of Hatha-Yoga excercise in healthy women. International
Journal of Psychosomatics, 41(1-4):46-52,
Harte, J.L., Eifert, G.H., Smith, R., (1995) . The effects of running
and meditation on beta-endorphin, corticotropin-releasing hormone and cortisol
in plasma, and on mood. Biological Psvcholoqv, 40(3):251-265.
Garfinkel, M.S., Schumacher, H.R. Tr., Husain, A., Levy, M., Reshetar,
R.A. , (1994) . Evaluation of a Yoga based regimen for treatment of osteoarthritis
of the hands. Journrnal of Rheumatology, 21(12):2341-3.
Telles, S., Desiraju, T., (1993). Autonomic changes in Brahmakumaris
Raja Yoga meditation. International Journal of Psvchophysiology, 15(2):147-52.
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