Yoga as therapy in neuropsychiatric disorders

November 19, 2017

Applying testing standards to yoga can be difficult though. It raises questions such as: What is a satisfactory placebo? How can patients and researchers be blinded to the intervention? And what is an accurate biological correlate to the illness? Testing the neurobiological effects of certain yoga practices on healthy subjects can provide evidence of its benefits, but not the direct cause-and-effect of clinical benefits for patients with psychiatric disorders.

One study reported that OM chanting, a technique used in some yoga practices, produced deactivation in certain limbic areas of the brain. Patients with anxiety and depression have shown increased activation in these same areas. A direct link of deactivation in psychiatric patients has yet to be tested.

However, another study showed positive biological results, using the Sudarshan Kriya form of yoga as a sole form of treatment for depression. The amplitude of brain electrical potential elicited by neutral stimuli increased over three months and reached that of healthy control subjects. Plasma cortisol levels, which can indicate stress or illness, were lower in those receiving yoga therapy, paralleling a reduction in depressive symptoms.

Source: Biofeedback