Heated Yoga May Help Reduce Depressive Symptoms, According to Massachusetts General Hospital Study
A recent clinical trial conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital has indicated that heated yoga sessions could have a significant impact on reducing symptoms of depression in adults with moderate-to-severe depression. The study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, involved 80 participants who were randomly placed into two groups: one group received 90-minute sessions of Bikram yoga practiced in a 105°F room, while the other group served as a waitlist control.
Over the course of eight weeks, the yoga group attended an average of 10.3 classes, and the results were quite promising. The yoga group displayed a considerably greater reduction in depressive symptoms compared to the waitlist group, as assessed through the clinician-rated Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology scale. Even participants who only attended half of the recommended classes still experienced a notable decrease in depressive symptoms, suggesting that heated yoga sessions once a week could be beneficial.
The study also revealed that 59.3% of the yoga participants experienced a 50% or greater decrease in symptoms, compared to only 6.3% of the waitlist participants. Additionally, 44% of the yoga group achieved low IDS-CR scores indicating depression in remission, compared to 6.3% of the waitlist group.
These findings highlight the potential use of heated yoga as a non-medication-based approach to treating depression. Moreover, participants praised the heated yoga sessions, and no serious adverse effects were reported.
Researchers involved in the study now plan to delve deeper into understanding the specific contributions of heat and yoga to the observed clinical effects in managing depression. Furthermore, future research will aim to compare heated yoga to nonheated yoga and explore the potential benefits of heat as a treatment for major depressive disorder.
The study received support from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, providing further validation for the potential benefits of heated yoga in managing depressive symptoms.
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