Yoga originated over 4,000 years ago as a spiritual practice. Over time, however, health and wellness experts have found that there are many physical benefits as well. Now, yoga is as much of physical practice as it is a spiritual one.
While yoga is not a substitute for traditional healthcare, as a compliment, it can help ease symptoms associated with a variety of health problems. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), people are increasingly using yoga to relieve pain, anxiety, stress, and to improve their overall health.
So what are the health problems that yoga can help with? Put together by a Portland yoga studio, let’s take a look at 10 health conditions that researchers show yoga can ease.
10 Health Problems Eased by Yoga
1. Chronic Stress:
Practicing yoga may be helpful in relieving chronic stress. A regular yoga practice can reduce your stress response and provide options for self-soothing and better management of stress.
A study in the Journal of Preventative Medicine shows that yoga can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety. When used alongside other treatment methods, it is helpful in reducing anxiety and helping patients manage their symptoms.
3. Heart Health:
Practicing yoga has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of heart disease. When practiced as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, yoga can be used to improve heart health and reduce the risk of dangerous diseases.
4. Brain Health:
Practicing yoga could be beneficial in improving brain health. Researchers report that people who practiced yoga for 14 years had thicker brain tissue in the areas responsible for memory and attention than their peers.
5. Chronic Back Pain:
People who suffer from chronic back pain may find some relief through a regular yoga practice. Research shows that yoga can reduce back pain and improve mental health in people with chronic pain. Researchers note that yoga and other stretching exercises are both beneficial in this way.
6. Improve Balance:
Yoga is a great way to improve balance. This is important, especially for older adults. Some studies suggest that a regular yoga practice can reduce the risk of falls in older adults. This is a promising option for older adults to get low-impact and meaningful exercise.
7. Thyroid Function:
Research in Medical News Today suggests that stress can lead to improper thyroid function. Fortunately, practicing yoga can reduce stress, which in turn, helps improve thyroid function. Research is ongoing, but studies suggest yoga could potentially help ease medical conditions like hypo-and hyperthyroidism.
Research in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research shows that a regular yoga practice can reduce blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. For people with Type 2 diabetes, not only could they lower their glucose levels naturally, but they also may be slowing down progression of the disease.
9. Atrial Fibrillation:
Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart don’t contract as they should. This can cause symptoms like dizziness, palpitations, and shortness of breath. It also increases the risk of heart failure. Research shows, however, that practicing yoga at least twice weekly can improve symptoms. When added as part of a regular treatment plan, yoga can help improve heart function and manage stress.
10. Boost Immune System:
Health conditions related to chronic stress account for 60 to 80 percent of all visits to primary care doctors. Several studies now show that practicing yoga can reduce stress, and as a result, also reduce the symptoms caused by it. Chronic stress and illness weaken the immune system, but a regular yoga practice could be the key to naturally averting some of these illnesses.
As you can see, there are many benefits to practicing yoga. The next time you talk to your doctor, ask him or her about the possible benefits of adding yoga to your treatment plan.