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OBJECTIVE: To study the effect of integrated yoga practice and guided yogic relaxation on both perceived stress and measured autonomic response in healthy pregnant women.METHOD: The 122 healthy women recruited between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy at prenatal clinics in Bangalore, India, were randomized to practicing yoga and deep relaxation or standard prenatal exercises 1-hour daily. The results for the 45 participants per group who completed the study were evaluated by repeated measures analysis of variance. RESULTS: Perceived stress decreased by 31.57% in the yoga group and increased by 6.60% in the control group (P=0.001). During a guided relaxation period in the yoga group, compared with values obtained before a practice session, the high-frequency band of the heart rate variability spectrum (parasympathetic) increased by 64% in the 20th week and by 150% in the 36th week, and both the low-frequency band (sympathetic), and the low-frequency to high-frequency ratio were concomitantly reduced (P<0.001 between the 2 groups). Moreover, the low-frequency band remained decreased after deep relaxation in the 36th week in the yoga group. CONCLUSION: Yoga reduces perceived stress and improves adaptive autonomic response to stress in healthy pregnant women.

AIM: To study the effect of integrated yoga on pain, morning stiffness and anxiety in osteoarthritis of knees.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two hundred and fifty participants with OA knees (35-80 years) were randomly assigned to yoga or control group. Both groups had transcutaneous electrical stimulation and ultrasound treatment followed by intervention (40 min) for two weeks with follow up for three months. The integrated yoga consisted of yogic loosening and strengthening practices, asanas, relaxation, pranayama and meditation. The control group had physiotherapy exercises. Assessments were done on 15(th) (post 1) and 90(th) day (post 2). RESULTS: Resting pain (numerical rating scale) reduced better (P<0.001, Mann-Whitney U test) in yoga group (post 1=33.6% and post 2=71.8%) than control group (post 1=13.4% and post 2=37.5%). Morning stiffness decreased more (P<0.001) in yoga (post 1=68.6% and post 2=98.1%) than control group (post 1=38.6% and post 2=71.6%). State anxiety (STAI-1) reduced (P<0.001) by 35.5% (post 1) and 58.4% (post 2) in the yoga group and 15.6% (post 1) and 38.8% (post 2) in the control group; trait anxiety (STAI 2) reduced (P<0.001) better (post 1=34.6% and post 2=57.10%) in yoga than control group (post 1=14.12% and post 2=34.73%). Systolic blood pressure reduced (P<0.001) better in yoga group (post 1=-7.93% and post 2=-15.7%) than the control group (post 1=-1.8% and post 2=-3.8%). Diastolic blood pressure reduced (P<0.001) better in yoga group (post 1=-7.6% and post 2=-16.4%) than the control group (post 1=-2.1% and post 2=-5.0%). Pulse rate reduced (P<0.001) better in yoga group (post 1=-8.41% and post 2=-12.4%) than the control group (post 1=-5.1% and post 2=-7.1%). CONCLUSION: Integrated approach of yoga therapy is better than physiotherapy exercises as an adjunct to transcutaneous electrical stimulation and ultrasound treatment in reducing pain, morning stiffness, state and trait anxiety, blood pressure and pulse rate in patients with OA knees.