Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Yoga may reverse risk of heart disease

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Yoga induces a feeling of well-being in healthy people, and can reverse the clinical and biochemical changes associated with metabolic syndrome, according to results of studies from Sweden and India. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and high blood sugar.

Dr. R.P. Agrawal, of the SP Medical College, Bikaner, India, and colleagues evaluated the beneficial effects of yoga and meditation in 101 adults with features of metabolic syndrome. In the study, 55 adults received three months of regular yoga including standard postures and Raja Yoga, a form of transcendental meditation daily, while the remaining received standard care.

Waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides were significantly lower, and “good” HDL cholesterol levels were higher in the yoga group as compared to controls, Agrawal’s team reports in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.


At the end of the study period, feelings of anxiety, stress and depression were significantly lower and levels of optimism significantly higher in the yoga group compared to the control group, Kjellgren and colleagues report.

Yoga not only helps in prevention of lifestyle diseases, but can also be “a powerful adjunct therapy when these diseases arise,” co-investigator Dr. Faahri Saatiglou, from the University of Oslo, told Reuters Health. “We do not emphasize this point enough in our Western health care.

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