Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi assessed the efficacy of a brief yoga-based intervention on lowering stress and reducing inflammation in patients with chronic inflammatory disease in a preliminary study with a pre-post design.
Subjects were patients with chronic inflammatory diseases and others who suffered from being overweight or obese.
The program consisted of asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), stress management, group discussions, lectures, and individualized coaching.
Outcomes were changes from day 0 to day 10 in plasma cortisol and
β-endorphin to measure reductions in stress: and interleukin [IL]-6 and
tumor necrosis factor [TNF] - to measure reductions in inflammation.
Researchers from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC, conducted a randomized controlled pilot comparing the viability of two mind-body workplace stress reduction programs - one therapeutic yoga-based and the other mindfulness-based - in order to set the stage for larger cost-effectiveness trials. Additionally, 2 delivery venues of the mindfulness-based program were evaluated (online vs. in-person).
Group differences were examined over time on perceived stress and secondary measures to clarify which variables to include in future studies: sleep quality, mood, pain levels, work productivity, mindfulness, blood pressure, breathing rate, and heart rate variability.
Researchers from the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation (SVYASA) in Bangalore, India evaluated changes in pain, anxiety, depression and spinal mobility for chronic low back pain patients on short-term, residential Yoga and physical exercise programs, including comprehensive yoga lifestyle modifications.
This seven-day, randomized, controlled, single-blind study, in a residential Holistic Health Centre in Bangalore, India, assigned 80 patients (37 female, 43 male) with chronic low back pain to yoga and physical exercise groups.
The Yoga program consisted of specific asanas (body postures) and pranayamas (breath exercises) for back pain, meditation, yogic counseling, and lectures on yoga philosophy. The control group program included physical therapy exercises for back pain and matching counseling and education sessions.
Faculty from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom conducted a systematic review to assess the effectiveness of yoga as a treatment option for any type of pain.
Seven databases were searched from their inception to February 2011. Randomized clinical trials were considered if they investigated yoga in patients with any type of pain and if they assessed pain as a primary outcome measure.
Ten randomized clinical trials (RCTs) met the inclusion criteriam with methodological quality ranging between 1 and 4 on the Jadad scale. Nine RCTs suggested that yoga leads to a significantly greater reduction in pain over various control interventions, such as standard care, self care, therapeutic exercises, relaxing yoga, touch and manipulation, or no intervention. One RCT failed to provide between-group differences in pain scores.
Researchers at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University conducted a systematic review and critical appraisal of the effect of yoga on stress management in healthy adults.
A systematic literature search was performed to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and clinical controlled trials (CCTs) that assessed the effects of yoga on stress management in healthy adults. Selected studies were classified according to the types of intervention, duration, outcome measures, and results. They were also qualitatively assessed based on Public Health Research, Education and Development standards.
Researchers from the Department of Psychobiology at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo in Brazil looked at the efficacy of Siddha Samadhi Yoga, a program of meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises). Twenty-two volunteers with anxiety complaints (Median age = 42.8 yr., Standard deviation = 10.3) were assigned to two groups: 14 attended the yoga group, and 8 attended a waiting-list or control group.
Subjects were evaluated before the intervention and 1 month after it on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, Tension Feelings Self-evaluation Scales, and the Well-being Self-evaluation Scales.
Pioneer guided imagery researchers from Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, Ohio, examined whether the practice of hatha yoga can reduce stress responses, as indicated by measurable inflammatory and endocrine shifts in the body immediately after a session. This study compares the reactions of novice and expert yoga practitioners before, during, and after a restorative hatha yoga session, as compared to two control conditions.
Researchers from the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation in Bangalore, India studied the effect of integrated yoga practice and guided relaxation on both perceived stress and measured autonomic response in healthy pregnant women.
The 122 healthy women in the study were recruited between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy at prenatal clinics in Bangalore, India, and were randomized to practicing yoga and deep relaxation or standard prenatal exercises 1-hour daily. Forty-five participants in each group completed the study, and were evaluated by repeated measures analysis of variance.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada reviewed the literature to investigate whether Eastern techniques, such as mindfulness, acupuncture or yoga might be used to improve unsatisfying sexual experiences in women (problems with desire, arousal or orgasm).
The search revealed only two empirical studies of mindfulness, two of acupuncture, and one of yoga in the treatment of sexual dysfunction. These limited results revealed that mindfulness significantly improved several aspects of sexual response and reduced sexual distress in women with sexual desire and arousal disorders.
Researchers from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Bridgeport Hospital, Connecticut examined the question of why stress reduction is so good for cardiovascular health, hypothesizing that yoga and meditation improve parameters of endothelial function.
In a 6-week pilot study, 33 subjects (mean age 55 +/- 11 years) both with (30%) and without (70%) established coronary artery disease (CAD) were given a course in yoga & meditation for an hour and a half, three times a week, and encouraged to continue their practice at home.