Yoga Really Fights Illness
It’s long been known that yoga is a destresser, but scientists have now found that it has anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects as well. And the discovery could help family caregivers.
Researchers at UCLA, studying a group of 45 people who care for a loved one with dementia, assigned them a 12-minute daily routine of Kirtan Kriya Meditation. The practice involves chanting while holding simple finger poses known as mudras.
After teaching KMM to 45 participants, the researchers found that 68 genes had been activated, including ones that protected against inflammation and virus.
Caregivers are at risk for a number of illnesses ranging from cardiac disease to depression, and the findings could help them combat and prevent those physical conditions.
Dr. Helen Lavretsky, senior author and a professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, said in a statement: “This is encouraging news. Caregivers often don’t have the time, energy, or contacts that could bring them a little relief from the stress of taking care of a loved one with dementia, so practicing a brief form of yogic meditation, which is easy to learn, is a useful too."
The meditation tool could be of benefit to the 5 million people in the U.S. who care for those with dementia. As the population ages, Lavretsky said, the number of patients and caregivers is likely to increase sharply.
The findings were published in the journal “Psychoneuroendocrinology.”