By Faye Martins
Once again, a potential student approaches you about private lessons because she is experiencing chronic stress, but she’s not sure Yoga works. Did your Yoga instructor training course prepare you for this? Maybe not, but we have solid research for the skeptics in your life.
We hear about Yoga being good for stress, but now we have scientific research to back up the claims. According to the Anxiety and Depression Organization of American, anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million adults in the U. S. each year. Although highly treatable, only about one third of those 40 million receive medical care, and costs range about $42 billion for those who do seek help.
Research Says Yoga Helps Fight Anxiety
• In March, 2012, the Boston University School of Medicine and the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons published the results of a new study suggesting that Yoga can be an effective means of treating people with psychological and medical conditions related to stress. Among these illnesses are high blood pressure, cardiac problems, depression and anxiety.
Based on the theory that stress creates an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system and lowers levels of neurotransmitters, an alternative treatment like Yogic exercise seems like the perfect complement to traditional Western medicine. After all, Yogic techniques balance the nervous system and raise the levels of neurotransmitters.
• Additional research completed in 2012 by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School examined the possibility that Yoga training might prevent anxiety in teens.
Students were given psychological tests for issues like resilience, anger, mood swings, anxiety and mindfulness at the beginning of the study. At the end of the study, students were tested again. Researchers found that some students who took regular PE classes did not score as well after 10 weeks while some of those who practiced Yogic techniques scored higher than they did initially. The remainder of the students’ scores remained the same before and after the study.
Teens who took Yoga also reported fewer negative feelings and reported liking the classes. Around seventy-five percent said they would like to continue taking classes, giving hope to the chance that Yoga may be used to prevent anxiety and depression in adolescents.
• In 2010, the “Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences” published research showing that female patients with PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, showed significant improvement in symptoms after taking a series of eight Hatha based classes. The women reported fewer disruptive thoughts and calmer nerves. Their heart-rate variability, a key indicator of the capacity to self-soothe, also improved.
With the growing number of suicides among adolescents and military veterans, the need for a safe and affordable alternative to treatment should encourage scientists to continue their research.
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