What does a chair, a mountain and a warrior have in common?
If you are a meditation enthusiast, you’d know immediately that they are different yoga postures. Silence, concentration and spiritual elevation, yoga is synonymous with well-being, but not only. It is also recognized for its therapeutic virtues, and allows to establish a relationship between the body and the spirit. It is often used to combat stress, both individually and by doctors, who may suggest yoga sessions when more conventional therapies do not work.
But is yoga really effective in medicine?
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience attempted to answer this question. Drs. Mooventhan and Nivethitha of the Department of Research and Development, S-VYASA University in India analyzed publications on yoga. By sorting through scientific and non-scientific papers and targeting terms such as "randomized controlled trials", they sought to determine whether the scientific method could be used to affirm the value of yoga in medicine. They reported their findings in their publication "Evidence based effects of yoga in neurological disorders".
Stroke, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis are very common diseases in the world. All three of them cause numerous effects that are difficult to manage in daily life: fatigue, pain, balance problems, depression, anxiety, etc. To date, there is no treatment to effectively stop these diseases, and the side effects of medications that can slow them down can be numerous.
In studies, yoga has already proven itself. It seems to provide physical and mental relief to patients. It reduces fatigue, anxiety and depression, and improves body awareness, balance, flexibility and muscle strength. It also helps to reduce incontinence, which sometimes occurs with multiple sclerosis.
"In Turkey, yoga is often used in addition to standard treatments for migraines.
Yoga is also useful for patients with epileptic seizures. The medications that control these seizures have many side effects, so treatments that reduce the number of these medications are of interest. 44% of patients with epilepsy use some form of alternative medicine, and the practice of yoga seems to reduce the number of perceived seizures and thus improves the quality of life of patients. Finally, in cases of Alzheimer's or dementia, yoga can be useful in managing the stress generated by these diseases, both for patients and their families.
However,certain undesirable effects are not unheard of. For sick people, sometimes physically fragile, positions and a too sustained practice of yoga can be harmful. Some vision problems, occlusions or lesions can be caused by unusual postures or positions that are too difficult.
In short, yoga has been proven to improve the quality of life. It does not replace conventional treatments, but is an effective addition to reduce certain symptoms. Thus, even if yoga is not THE answer to diseases, because it does not allow to heal the patients durably, it has all the same a great utility, in the management of the stress, the anxiety. Do not deprive yourself of it, do yoga!
Mooventhan, A., and L. Nivethitha. "Evidence based effects of yoga in neurological disorders." Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 43 (2017): 61-67.