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Yoga can ease depression
By Jerry Brownstein
New research is showing that the practice of yoga can be of great benefit for people who suffer with depression. Most of these patients are given antidepressant medications that come with a long list of negative side effects. On top of that they are only about 50% effective, and most of that is due to the placebo effect. A regular yoga practice could be a solution that not only works on depression, but that also brings other physical benefits. In a recent study at Boston University (US), participants who suffered from clinical depression took a 90 minute yoga class three times a week, and also did a 30 minute session at home three times a week. After three months all of them reported a reduction in symptoms of at least 50%.
Several prior studies using yoga for treatment of depression have had similar positive results. Dr Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, reviewed these findings and commented: "The mechanism is similar to other exercise techniques that activate the release of 'feel good' brain chemicals, and may also reduce immune system chemicals that can worsen depression. Using yoga adds the element of mindful movement with conscious awareness, which greatly increases the beneficial impact on the central nervous system." In addition, a regular yoga practice has proven physical benefits including increased flexibility and core strength plus relief of back pain... all without any drugs or side effects.