Yoga as a supplement to the treatment of mental illnesses
According to health experts, about one in four people suffers from a mental disorder at some point in their lives. Affected people are often treated with medication and / or psychotherapy. According to the latest findings, body-oriented yoga can also help as a complementary treatment option.
Mental disorders are common in the population
According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), almost ten percent of people worldwide suffer from depression and anxiety. Mental disorders are common. Those affected are usually advised to undergo psychotherapy. At the same time, medication is also often used. German scientists are now reporting on a promising approach to complementary treatment. Accordingly, yoga helps with mental disorders.
Physical yoga as an accompaniment to therapy
The treatment of different forms of mental disorders can be quite difficult. Here, physical yoga as an accompaniment to therapy could significantly improve the success of treatment, according to the results of a recent study by psychologists from the University Hospital and the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. "Yoga is a treatment option for mental disorders," said the university hospital. In their meta-analysis, the Jena psychologists evaluated previous studies on the effectiveness of body-oriented yoga for mental disorders and found that yoga with breathing and body exercises can offer a promising complementary approach to the treatment of mental disorders.
Effect of yoga exercises checked for mental disorders
According to the researchers, the advantages are clear to see. Because yoga is a widespread leisure activity and therefore a low-threshold, well-accepted therapeutic approach that is not only inexpensive, but also brings little risk or side effects. The study results were published in the Deutsches Ärzteblatt. The positive effects of yoga for physical complaints such as chronic pain or cardiovascular diseases are well documented, according to the researchers. So far, however, the question of how effective body-oriented yoga is in the treatment of mental disorders has remained open. Director of Studies PD Dr. Jenny Rosendahl from the Institute for Psychosocial Medicine and Psychotherapy at the University Hospital in Jena and colleagues ultimately filtered out 2500 publications on the subject, 25 studies with suitable quality requirements, on the basis of which they checked the effect of yoga exercises on mental disorders.
Effects of yoga for depression, schizophrenia and Co.
"It was essential for the selection that the examinations compared groups with and without yoga and that the study participants were randomly divided into these groups," explains Rosendahl. In addition, according to the study director, yoga had to "be explicitly described as hatha yoga or include breathing and physical exercises." In total, the studies considered included more than 1,300 subjects, and the majority of them were carried out in the USA or India. The majority of the examinations looked at patients with schizophrenia and depression, according to the university hospital. "But also with substance dependencies, anxiety and other disorders, the subjects completed yoga exercises - always in groups and under the guidance of a yoga teacher," according to the Jena University Hospital.
Significant symptom relief
Yoga was used in the course of the studies considered to treat various psychological disorders and "most of the training was supplemented by medication, which was sometimes accompanied by other therapeutic interventions," reports Jenny Rosendahl. In some studies, yoga was also used as the sole therapy. The control groups generally did not receive any additional treatment, but in some studies yoga was compared to exercise, attention control, or psychotherapy. "Overall, yoga showed a significant effect in terms of alleviating the symptoms of the disorders under consideration," concluded the study director. However, the demonstrable effects in the studies were "very heterogeneous".
Further studies required
According to the researchers, yoga turned out to be slightly more effective in comparing yoga exercises with sports or attention control, while it was about as effective as a supplement to medication, for example, as a standard psychotherapeutic treatment. According to the researchers, further influencing factors must now be examined here. For example, in recent work there was a lower positive effect of yoga, which may be due to the increasing standardization of the studies. In addition, yoga had shown a weaker effect in patients who were receiving outpatient or inpatient treatment. The severity of the disorder can play a role. In view of the current study results, body-oriented yoga should be considered as a supplementary treatment option for mental disorders, emphasizes Rosendahl. It could "reduce disorder-specific symptoms and contribute to the improvement of well-being and quality of life." However, further, high-quality studies are necessary in order to better evaluate the specific effects of yoga. (fp, ad)