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Veterans Find Yoga Improves Their Moods

In one study, veterans practiced hatha yoga twice a week for two months. They report that yoga improves their moods and recommend it to others.

Many people think yoga appeals primarily to women. But a new study from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center should put that myth to rest. A group of veterans discovered that yoga improves their moods.

Yoga for Veterans:

Researchers recruited 23 male veterans to participate in bi-weekly hatha yoga classes. After two months the volunteers answered questions about the value of the classes. Overall, the veterans rated their appreciation of the yoga sessions at 9.4 out of a possible 10 points. All these men thought the experience was so valuable that they would recommend it to fellow veterans.

Yoga Improves Their Moods:

An additional benefit that was detected after two months was an antidepressant effect. Vets who scored high on a depression scale reported significant improvement in their moods and their sense of wellbeing after completing the yoga program.

Other yoga research has also demonstrated an antidepressant impact on people who had treatment-resistant mood disorders. An Australian study found that yoga helped 30 volunteers with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (McCarthy et al, Australasian Psychiatry, Aug. 2017). This may be an approach that military organizations would find useful.

A review of previous research found that many studies had small sample sizes and relatively short durations. Nonetheless, yoga appeared effective in controlling depression (Bridges & Sharma, Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, Jan. 1, 2017). Perhaps someday yoga will be prescribed for both men and women suffering from psychological depression.

American Psychological Association Meetings, Aug 3, 2017

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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