Stress is a common foe to all of us. It is the culprit behind many mental as well as physical problems. Fortunately, we have yoga, which can help us free ourselves from stress-related mental problems. And this is endorsed by a review article by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine [BUSM], New York Medical College [NYMC], and the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons [CCPS]. They found that yoga is effective in treating patients with stress-related psychological and medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and cardiac disease.
An earlier study by BUSM researchers comparing a walking group and a yoga group over a 12-week period found no increase in gamma amino-butyric acid [GABA] levels in the walking group, whereas the yoga group showed increased GABA levels and decreased anxiety. In another BUSM 12-week study, patients with chronic low back pain responded to a yoga intervention with increased GABA levels and significant reduction in pain compared to a group receiving standard care alone.
“Western and Eastern medicine complement one another. Yoga is known to improve stress-related nervous system imbalances,” said Chris Streeter, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at BUSM and Boston Medical Center, who is the study’s lead author. Streeter believes that “This paper provides a theory, based on neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, to understand how yoga helps patients feel better by relieving symptoms in many common disorders.”