Yoga Helps Alleviate Depression

A new study has found that hatha yoga can help improve treatment for patients suffering from depression.

According to the study’s findings, the benefits of yoga were less pronounced early in treatment, but accumulated over time.

“The purpose of this study was to examine whether hatha yoga is effective for treating depression when used in addition to antidepressant medication,” said Dr. Lisa Uebelacker, Ph.D., a research psychologist in the Psychosocial Research Department at Butler Hospital, a Care New England hospital, and an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

“We did not see statistically significant differences between hatha yoga and a control group at 10 weeks, however, when we examined outcomes over a period of time, including the three and six months after yoga classes ended, we found yoga was superior to health education in alleviating depression symptoms.”

According to Uebelacker, this is the largest study of yoga for depression to date.

For the study, the research team enrolled people with current or recent major depression who were receiving antidepressant medication and continued to have clinically significant depression symptoms.

Participants were randomly put into two groups — those who participated in a hatha yoga class and a control group who took part in a health education class. The intervention phase lasted 10 weeks and participants were followed for six months afterward.

“We hypothesized that yoga participants would show lower depression severity over time as assessed by the Quick Inventory of Depression Symptomatology (QIDS), as well as better social and role functioning, better general health perceptions and physical functioning, and less physical pain relative to the control group,” said Uebelacker. “We found that yoga did indeed have an impact on depression symptoms.”

The study was published in Psychological Medicine.

Source: Care New England