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Archive for May, 2016

Yoga and Cognitive Impairment

Posted on: May 28th, 2016 by admin No Comments

Yoga and Cognitive ImpairmentYoga is a hot and growing trend in many urban areas across the United States. Increasingly, you can find yoga studios all around the country, offering a variety of services from beginner level classes to more advanced and nuanced forms including hot yoga and traditional yoga. The trend has continued to retain fuel for the reason that it helps people not only relax, but get a good workout. The physical health benefits of yoga are fairly well documented and new research is helping to quantify the mental health impact as well.

A new study looking at 25 adults who had mild cognitive impairment were randomly assigned to either a three-month course of yoga or to memory-training exercises, which are known to help in staving off further cognitive impairment. Those who were in the interventional group (yoga) actually displayed bigger improvements in visual-spatial memory and had bigger reductions in symptoms of anxiety or depression compared to the control group (memory exercises). This research is promising for yoga, especially with increasing concerns about Alzheimer’s on a population level nationwide. That being said, this was a very small study and more research is needed to really drive home conclusions which might change clinical practice. It is also yet to be seen what type of yoga is more or less effective.

Either way, there is likely not any harm in doing yoga and we already know of other benefits that come with the exercises. So really there is potential for upside with no real downside for most people aside from the time it takes to do it. Yoga will likely continue to grow nationally as more people give the ancient activity a try in an attempt to improve their lives and their health. Many providers including chiropractic professionals are now recommending things like yoga to their patients in order to help them improve their lives, both physically and mentally.

The study that was recently published involved a weekly class of Kundalini yoga, which involves a combination of breathing exercises, meditation, and hand movements. There were some home exercises that participants were also asked to carry out on their own. While both groups showed improvement in brain memory as hypothesized, the group that did the yoga had better results overall. It will be interesting to see where future research takes this. More research into Kundalini yoga is likely, but equally interesting will be comparative studies between different types of yoga. This sort of research will really allow us to drill down into what aspects of yoga are particularly beneficial and for what populations. It is very likely that different people respond and react to different types of yoga or other exercises, so there will likely still remain health reasons for many different types of the practice to exist and be offered. The yoga in addition to memory tests intervention is also one that needs to be looked at, particularly in evaluating the effectiveness of the combination versus both standalone practices. Any synergistic effect could be especially important in helping fight off cognitive impairment.

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