A review of the evidence shows that yoga therapy can reduce risk factors and improve the condition of those with heart disease.
Yoga exercises can help improve physical, psychological and spiritual health – or so it is claimed. Researchers at Peninsula Medical School, in South-West England, reviewed the best evidence they could find on the effects of yoga therapy on heart disease. They found six – out of 11 – trials that were good enough to draw useful conclusions.
These showed that yoga improves lipid profiles and helps with weight loss. Yoga also reduces the number of angina episodes, increases exercise tolerance and decreases narrowing of the arteries (coronary stenosis). Given that yoga is relatively cheap, and acceptable to many people as a therapy, it would be useful to have some bigger studies to confirm its effectiveness for heart disease, say the researchers.
In my personal practice, I’ve seen these kinds of overall improvements in many conditions. These studies often don’t really specify the exact practices given to participants. It makes sense though that a practice that decreases stress levels and blood pressure would improve outcomes for heart disease.
I look forward to the day that studies are big enough that patients are covered for yoga therapy to improve outcomes.
A yogi can dream, can’t he?
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