Yoga helps health more than harms
A recognized stress-buster, yoga as a complementary and alternative therapy can also help with anxiety, depression, back pain and other ills.
HealthDay News -- Results from medical research on yoga are mixed, according to the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), though the findings tend to be more positive than negative.
Yoga has been found to improve quality of life and reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and back pain. It has also been found to lower heart rate and blood pressure. Perhaps not surprisingly, yoga has also been shown to improve fitness, strength and flexibility, according to NCCAM.
Yoga has not been found to be helpful for asthma and the research on arthritis has produced various results, so the jury is still out on whether it's beneficial for this condition.
Yoga should be considered a complementary therapy, not a replacement for standard therapy, the experts note. Yoga is generally very safe to try although some people -- including pregnant women and those with hypertension, glaucoma or sciatica -- may need to modify poses to reduce the chance of injury.
"One of the issues in this country is that people think of yoga only as exercise and try to do the most physically hard poses possible," Ruby Roy, MD, a chronic disease physician at LaRabida Children's Hospital in Chicago who's also a certified yoga instructor, told HealthDay. "That may or may not help you, but it also could hurt you."