Although mainstream medicine has been less than swift to include practices like meditation and yoga into their wellness toolbox, it doesn’t mean that the healing practices don’t have dramatic positive effect upon a person’s health. In fact, numerous studies have concluded just how powerful mind body centering can be when it comes to ailments such as anxiety and depression. The good news is that as these reports continue to surface, combined with the popularity of meditation and yoga, the tide is beginning to turn.
Jayashree Nandi pens this recent Times of India post on how the country’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (Nimhans) is currently conducting rigorous studies on the biological effects of yoga and meditation on a person. In a country known for meditation and yoga, Nimhans is prescribing yoga therapy in combination with medication for major disorders, while doctors are using yoga therapy alone for less serious conditions.
Below are results from their findings as to the effectiveness of yoga therapy.
Benefits of yoga
Nimhans worked out 12 hypothetical leads, and for some, experts have found evidence.
* Yoga reduces cortisol levels (cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It’s released in response to stress and low level of blood glucocorticoids)
* Yoga increases brain derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF). The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the nerve growth factor family. Expression of this gene is reduced in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and Huntington. It may regulate stress response
* Yoga helps reduce TNF alfa (tumour necrosis factor)
“We found that chanting of `Om’ reduces activity of sensors which have become hyperactive in patients suffering from depression. About 35-40 patients come to our centre every day. We’ve developed a 45-minute package that should be practised daily. We found certain biological parameters also change with yoga practice. It’s not merely faith in a traditional therapy; it’s much more than faith,” Dr B N Gangadhar said.
Read more from Nandi here on the meditation and yoga research being conducted by Nimhans.