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Hatha Yoga Shows Promise in Treating Anxiety

Comparison with cognitive behavioral therapy needed, authors say

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Hatha yoga is a promising method for treating anxiety, but additional research is needed, according to a review published in the August issue of the Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine.

Stefan G. Hofmann, Ph.D., from Boston University, and colleagues conducted a literature search and meta-analysis to assess the effect of Hatha yoga on anxiety.

The researchers identified 17 studies involving a total of 501 participants who received Hatha yoga and reported their levels of anxiety before and after the practice. The treatment was found to be effective for anxiety in a random effects meta-analysis (P < 0.001). There was a positive association between treatment efficacy and the total number of hours practiced. Those with elevated levels of anxiety benefited the most. Study year, gender, presence of a medical disorder, or age did not lessen the effect. The quality of the studies was relatively low, but the risk of study bias did not moderate the effect.

“More well-controlled studies are needed to compare the efficacy of Hatha yoga with other more established treatments and to understand its mechanism,” the authors write.

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