Where is the medical proof of yoga benefits? It has long been understood that yogic methodologies have strong medical benefits. This connection is so widely understood by those who practice yogic arts that there has been little interest in finding out just why this is so. A suitable analogy would be like finding a fountain that permanently replenishes the thirst of every one who drinks from it. Additionally, every additional drink from this fountain produces still more benefits. Faced with such a proposition, it can be understood if people choose to drink rather than to investigate.
Recently, the widespread adoption of yogic practices in western cultures has spurred an increased interest in just why yoga science works. Through rigorous controlled studies, doctors have been able to make some dramatic conclusions about the connection between yoga and good health.
Studies of yogic medicine have been conducted for a number of different conditions. These conditions include cancer, anxiety, stress, fatigue and a number of similar conditions. In each case yoga has been proven to provide lasting benefits, which are comparable to, and in some cases superior to, those of western medicine.
Boston University School of Medicine Study in 2010
One such study examined the effectiveness of yoga on stress related medical conditions. This study examined a group of yoga practitioners as well as a group that only used walking as exercise. The study followed each group over a twelve-week span, carefully detailing the results of each.
After the conclusion of the study, the walking group was found to have some improvement in their conditions. This improvement matched the expected result of any mild regular exercise routine in patients of this age and medical condition. The group that practiced yogic methodologies had an entirely unexpected result.
Identical in every respect to the walking group, except for their practice of yoga, the yogic group displayed remarkable decreases in their overall levels of anxiety. When further examined, it was noted that the levels of GABA, a key neurotransmitter that plays a role in reducing stress and regulating pain, were much higher in this group.
GABA has long been known to be an important factor for overall health in patients of all conditions. While the link between GABA and exercise is well known, no other form of exercise or cognitive therapy has been shown to be as effective as yogic therapy has been.