Recent research has indicated that a regular session of Yoga could be the helpful in the treatment of depression than other forms of workouts like the gym or even simple morning walks.
The study, conducted across a set of healthy people with no psychiatric problems, revealed that yoga resulted in a much better change of mood than walking and other forms of physical activity. The findings of the research were presented to the American Psychiatric Association earlier this month.
Chris C. Streeter, lead researcher and associate profession of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, believes that a regular yoga workout makes people feel better compared to those visiting the gym because of an increase in a brain chemical called GABA that reduces depression and cures people of anxiety disorders.
The small study involved 19 people who practiced different types of yoga like Hatha Yoga and Iyengar Yoga, and another team of 15 people who went for an hour-long morning walk thrice a week for 12 weeks, says Streeter.
The research team got the participants to fill out standard mood questionnaires through the study and had MRI images of their brains taken before and after the experiment. Thereafter, they did an additional hour of yoga or walking based on which intervention they were assigned to and had another scan carried out after this.
Those who practiced yoga reported greater improvements in mood and reduced anxiety disorders than the ones who were assigned the morning walk. Moreover, it was proved that the GABA levels went up in those practicing yoga between the second and third scan as compared to the walking group.
Streeter, who conducted the research, also revealed that preparations like the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used to treat depression and anxiety-led disorders also contributed to the increase in the GABA levels of the brain, something which yoga could easily do.
It was further suggested that yogic postures could be helpful in treating people with depression or anxiety and complain of low GABA levels. However, medical researchers have indicated that some more research is likely before yoga could replace medications for mood disorders.
This preliminary report shows some real positives that yoga can bring towards the cure of anxiety led disorders and they also do not have a downside. However, it is best to go with proven treatments and use yoga as a complimentary step towards the cure, they said.