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Anxiety and Yoga


The immediate effects of relaxation therapy (RT) were assessed in 40 hospitalized children and adolescents with diagnoses of adjustment disorder and depression. These effects were assessed using a within subjects pre-test/post-test design and by comparison with a control group of 20 depressed and adjustment disorder patients who watched a 1-h relaxing videotape. The 1-h RT class consisted of yoga exercise, a brief massage and progressive muscle relaxation. Decreases were noted in both self-reported anxiety and in anxious behavior and fidgeting as well as increases in positive affect in the RT, but not the video group. In addition, adjustment disorder patients and a third of the depressed patients showed decreases in cortisol levels following RT, while no changes were noted in the video group. Thus, both diagnostic groups appeared to benefit from the RT class.
-- Platania-Solazzo, A., Field, T. M., Blank, J., Seligman, F., Kuhn, C., Schanberg, S., and Saab, P. (1992). Relaxation therapy reduces anxiety in child and adolescent psychiatric patients. Acta Paedopsychiatrica 55, 115-120.


Analysis showed maintenance of the gains obtained in the original study on the Hamilton and Beck anxiety scales as well as on their respective depression scales, on the Hamilton panic score, the number and severity of panic attacks, and on the Mobility Index-Accompanied and the Fear Survey. A 3-year follow-up comparison of this cohort with a larger group of subjects from the intervention who had met criteria for screening for the original study suggests generalizability of the results obtained with the smaller, more intensively studied cohort. Ongoing compliance with the meditation practice was also demonstrated in the majority of subjects at 3 years. We conclude that an intensive but time-limited group stress reduction intervention based on mindfulness meditation can have long-term beneficial effects in the treatment of people diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
-- Miller, J. J., Fletcher, K., and Kabat-Zinn, J. (1995). Three-year follow-up and clinical implications of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety disorders. General Hospital Psychiatry 17, 192-200.


Evaluated the efficacy of selected yoga practices as compared with drug (diazepam) therapy in anxiety-neurotic outpatients (aged 18-47 yrs). Data indicated a significant rate of improvement in Group 1 who completed the prescribed length (5 days/wk for 3 months) of yoga practices as compared with Group 2. At least 7% of Group 1 Ss were reported to be completely asymptomatic as compared with none of the Group 2.
-- Sahasi, G., Mohan, D., and Kacker, C. (1989). Effectiveness of yogic techniques in the management of anxiety. Journal of Personality and Clinical Studies 5, 51-55.

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last update: April 2009



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