A systematic review examining research articles of yoga’s critical and beneficial role on inflammatory biomarkers
In Yoga Therapy Greece we combine the ancient yoga wisdom and the evidence informed practices suggested by research. Critically evaluating the latest and most robust research articles, we are happy to share a small summary of them hoping that you will find it interesting to read and a help to understand the effectiveness of yoga and how much yoga can offer for the better management of systemic inflammation through balancing the nervous system.
A high-quality systematic review examining through 15 research articles yoga’s critical and beneficial role on inflammatory biomarkers in adults with chronic inflammatory related disorders such as breast cancer, high blood pressure, heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic stress.
The effectiveness of yoga programs has been shown through the very positive effects and the great improvements in inflammation seen in the reduction of the most common biomarkers such as C=reactive protein, tumour necrosis factor and interleukin-6.
It is well known that in many chronic conditions there is an underlying chronic inflammation while chronic stress is highly associated with chronic inflammation as well, and both chronic stress and chronic inflammation are associated with high morbidity and mortality (Franceschi and Campisi, 2014).
The yoga interventions had more than 3 components such as movements (asana), breathing practices (pranayamas) and meditation or guided relaxation or chanting. Their frequency varied from three 15-minutes interventions every 2 weeks over 8 weeks, to three 1-hour weekly interventions over 6 months. The ones with greater frequency showed better results, while all of them were of moderate intensity and many incorporated the use of props. Internationally in yoga therapy and at Yoga Therapy Greece we strongly believe in the effectiveness of a short daily practice but also in the power of consistency of practice.
It is scientifically proven through this robust article, as through many others with similar results, that yoga practice influences inflammation by decreasing sympathetic nervous system overactivity and Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis response to stress and by increasing parasympathetic nervous system dominance, via direct vagal nerve activation (Innes et al., 2005, Lakkireddy et al., 2013). This results in positive effects on the neuroendocrine condition, the metabolic function, inflammatory responses, the cardio function (Sharma et al., 2020) with improved heart rate and heart rate variability (Ross and Thomas, 2010).
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