Yoga + Controlled Breathing = Depression Reduction

New research suggests a 12-week integrative health intervention may significantly reduce depressive symptoms.

Columbia and Harvard researchers discovered training in Iyengar yoga classes and coherent breathing provided considerable benefits for individuals with major depressive disorder.

However, frequency of the training was important as participants who took three yoga classes a week were more likely to achieve lower depression scores than subjects who took two classes.

The article is coauthored by Richard Brown, M.D., and John Eric Jensen, Ph.D., and appears in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

In the study, adults 18-64 years of age with major depressive disorder participated in either three (high-dose intervention) or two (low-dose) yoga classes per week and practiced coherent breathing at five breaths per minute.

The researchers used a depression inventory measure to assess depressive symptoms in the 30 participants, at the beginning of the study and throughout the 12-week intervention.

“The practical findings for this integrative health intervention is that it worked for participants who were both on and off antidepressant medications, and for those time-pressed, the two times per week dose also performed well,” said the journal’s editor-in-chief, John Weeks.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert