Using yoga to treat depression and anxiety symptoms may help atrial fibrillation patients

Scientists are interested in the potential for yoga to complement conventional medicine in the treatment of a variety of diseases. Because this mind-body regimen can alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms, one team of researchers decided to explore its possible benefits for individuals with atrial fibrillation (AF), as reported by Cardiology Today.

According to the American Heart Association, 2.7 million Americans live with AF, which causes abnormal heart rhythms and makes them more vulnerable to stroke. It can also be associated with depression and anxiety symptoms.

To evaluate the effects of yoga, the researchers conducted an experiment on 49 AF patients, who practiced yoga for 60 minutes twice a week for three months.

Preliminary results showed that participants had better scores for quality of life, elevated mood and fewer episodes of AF symptoms. The researchers speculated that this may be because of yoga's effects on blood pressure.

"Yoga would be a good complement to the current AF patients' therapeutic strategies," said researcher Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, M.D., as quoted by the news source. "With yoga, we are able to reduce the number of hospitalizations, increase quality of life and provide comprehensive care to patients with AF."

The researchers believe that other forms of stress relief, such as meditation, may also help.

Of course, you don't have to have a heart condition to truly appreciate Oregon yoga classes. So check out your local studio, STAT!

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