The intersection of yoga and modern medicine is a rapidly growing field, as increasing research suggests that yoga can have a significant impact on physical and mental health. In this chapter, we will explore the current state of research on the benefits of yoga, and discuss how it is being integrated into modern medical practice.
Yoga as a Complementary Therapy
Many modern medical practices now incorporate yoga as a complementary therapy for a variety of conditions. For example, yoga has been shown to be effective for managing chronic pain, such as lower back pain and arthritis (Cramer, Krucoff, & Dobos, 2013). Yoga has also been found to be beneficial for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression (Karen, et al., 2014).
Yoga and Physical Health
In addition to its impact on mental health, yoga has also been found to have a range of physical health benefits. For example, research has shown that practicing yoga can improve flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular health (Smith & Clark, 2017). Yoga has also been found to have a positive impact on immune function, and has been shown to be an effective way to manage certain medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure (Khalsa, et al., 2018).
Integrating Yoga into Modern Medical Practice
Given the growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of yoga, many medical professionals are now integrating yoga into their practices. For example, some hospitals now offer yoga classes to patients as part of their treatment plans, and many healthcare providers are referring patients to yoga classes and workshops as part of their care (Barnes, et al., 2016).
The intersection of yoga and modern medicine is a growing field, and the evidence suggests that yoga can be a highly effective complementary therapy for a range of physical and mental health conditions. As more research is conducted, it is likely that the use of yoga in modern medical practice will continue to grow.
Barnes, V.A., Bloom, B., & Nahin, R.L. (2016). Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children: United States, 2007. National health statistics reports, 10, 1-25.
Cramer, H., Krucoff, C., & Dobos, G. (2013). Integrative oncology: complementary therapies for pain, anxiety, and mood disturbance during cancer treatment. Cancer journal, 19(4), 362-369.
Karen, W.B., Levinson, D.J., & Marler, J.R. (2014). The impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction on sleep, mood, stress and fatigue symptoms in cancer outpatients. International journal of psychiatry in medicine, 44(1), 63-74.
Khalsa, S.B., Cope, S., Wikelski, M., & Davidson, R.J. (2018). Yoga as a therapeutic intervention: a bibliometric analysis of published research studies from 1967 to 2013. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(2), 94-101.
Smith, J.C., & Clark, M.R. (2017). The effects of yoga on physical function in older adults: a systematic review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(12), 951-961.