There is a growing body of evidence surrounding yoga therapy, revealing more populations that could benefit from the therapy. In contrast to yoga for exercise purposes, yoga therapy takes the practice into a therapeutic environment designed to help those with emotional or physical concerns.
So far evidence has suggested that yoga therapy could be helpful to the following groups of people:
Adults with cancer
The greatest amount of scientific research regarding yoga therapy revolves around the well-being of adults with cancer. One study found that women with cancer who took part in hatha yoga classes twice a week for 12 weeks reported less fatigue and more vitality. Interestingly this group was also found to have significantly lower immune system markers associated with inflammation.
Children with autism
There have been several innovative yoga programmes that have been designed for autistic children and one of these was the subject of a promising study. In the study a group of 24 autistic children participated in a yoga class every day for 16 weeks and were compared to a group of 22 control students. The study found that those who took part in the yoga programme had decreased ratings of maladaptive behaviours.
Soldiers with PTSD
Yoga therapy is one of the newer integrative therapies being explored for those with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. A recent study showed that those taking part in yoga classes had improved hyperarousal symptoms and sleep quality.
Victims of domestic violence
Proposed as a complementary therapy for victims of domestic violence, yoga therapy can help with anxiety and depression. Researchers have therorised that by teaching victims to calm their minds with yogic breathing, they will feel as if they have more control over both their lives and bodies.
Adults with substance abuse/addiction
Several complementary therapies including yoga and acupuncture have been evaluated in the treatment of those with an addiction. A recent trial looked into the effect of yoga on mood and quality of life in women undergoing heroin detox. The group taking part in yoga classes were found to have a significant improvement in mood and quality of life compared to those who did not take part.
To find out more about yoga therapy and to find a therapist near you, please visit our yoga therapy page.
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