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Yoga is regarded as a mind-body intervention in which various physical postures, controlled breathing and meditation help unite the mind, body and spirit. It is a centuries old practice associated to religious, cultural and physical activities. Its practitioners believe that it keeps the emotional, spiritual and physical health of person in balance.
Various scientific studies have been conducted to validate the effect of yoga on health. With regard to mental health, yoga decreases stress levels and alleviates anxiety disorder. It also helps rectify bowel problems and reduces hypertension.
In numerous studies, yoga is found as the more effective method in boosting health measures as compared to the regular traditional exercise. Yoga affects body’s biological mechanisms. Unlike traditional exercise, it brings rapid changes at molecular level within two hours of the yoga program. It affects the gene expression. It combats stress by slowing down the biological mechanisms that produce the stress causing immune system’s inflammation responses.
Yoga is more effective than physical therapy for the treatment of chronic back pain. During the clinical trials, yoga therapy outperformed physical therapy in reducing anxiety, depression, pain and improving spinal mobility.
Yoga renders improvement even at the genetic level. The length of telomeres, located at the tips of DNA chromosomes, determines the life of the cell. The shorter the length, the sooner the cell will age and die. Telomeres length shortens with age or age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Yoga helps maintain the length of Telomeres and in some cases even lengthen it.
Yoga helps treat rheumatoid arthritis. In a small scale clinical trial, breathing, meditation and selective yoga postures were practiced by a set of arthritis patients. Yoga was observed to improve the grip strength in the yoga practicing patients.
Yoga is effective in treating bronchial asthma. In a clinical trial, asthma patients who underwent yoga training showed improvement in their weekly number of asthma attacks, drug treatment score and peak flow rate.
The above stated research findings are sufficient to suggest that yoga improves health. It qualifies as an effective alternative healthcare and medical practice as it not only treats but also prevents from a variety of illnesses.