Study Shows That Breathing-Based Yoga Can Treat Depression
For a lot of people who are suffering from major depression, finding relief usually involves using anti-depressant pills. However, taking medication isn't a surefire way to get rid of the debilitating feelings of hopelessness and sadness. In fact, at least a quarter of those who take antidepressants claim that they don't experience the expected effects. But there's hope, courtesy of a recent study conducted by a team of doctors at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. According to Dr. Anup Sharma, who was the lead of the research, there's enough evidence to show that breathing-based yoga can be very effective in helping people cope with their depression.
Dr. Sharma and his research team published their initial findings in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. For their study, the team focused on the breathing yoga technique called Sudarshan Kriya. This technique has the main goal of putting the mind into a deep state through a series of rhythmic breathing exercises. For their test subjects, the team convinced 25 people who were suffering from major depression. The subjects underwent several tests in the course of eight weeks. In sessions that were conducted several times a week, the subjects went through different yoga exercises and postures. The follow-up sessions were conducted in the homes of the subjects.
After the allotted eight weeks of study, the research team analyzed the immense amount of data they gathered. They found out that those who went through the yoga exercises registered a decrease in their anxiety and depression symptoms. Keep in mind that prior to the study, the subjects said that they aren't getting enough relief from their medications. The researchers came up with the valid conclusion that breathing-based yoga can be a great tool in helping anxious and depressed people cope with their conditions.
Dr. Sharma added that the exercises tend to be more effective on people who do not fully respond to antidepressants. The results of the initial study are very promising. However, the research team is quick to point out that there's still a long way to go before this yoga technique will be fully recommended as a treatment option. If further research confirms the initial findings, then we would be on our way towards finding an effective and low-cost approach to dealing with anxiety and depression. The research team is now planning to expand their research to a more diverse group of subjects. They also plan on studying the effects of breathing-based yoga on the functions and structure of the human brain.