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Festival goers practise yoga during the 24th Sziget (Island) Festival on Shipyard Island, Northern Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. The festival is one of the biggest cultural events in Europe offering art exhibitions, theatrical and circus performances and music concerts over eight days. (Balazs Mohai/MTI via AP)

In the long run, yoga may alleviate depression more than health education, a study finds


Hatha yoga--the term used to generally describe the various yoga practices, like vinyasa and ashtanga-- may play a role in reducing depression among those who practice, a recently released study in <em>Psychological Medicine</em> showed

"The purpose of this study was to examine whether hatha yoga is effective for treating depression when used in addition to antidepressant medication," Dr. Lisa Uebelacker, the lead researcher of the study, said.

In the long run, yoga may alleviate depression more than health education, a study finds

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The study enrolled participants with current or recent major depression who took antidepressant medication drugs. One group participated in a hatha group class while the other group took part in a health education class.

The intervention phase lasted 10 weeks and participants were followed for six months afterward.

Uebelacker added, "We did not see statistically significant differences between hatha yoga and a control group (health education class) at 10 weeks, however, three and six months after yoga classes ended, we found yoga was superior in alleviating depression symptoms."

As a result, Uebelacker noted, that yoga does have an impact on depression symptoms.

Researchers remained optimistic that yoga class participants would experience better social and physical functioning, less pain and, overall, better health perceptions overtime. 

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