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Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequenceof a three-month intensive yoga program.

Andreas Michalsen, Paul Grossman, Ayhan Acil, Jost Langhorst, Rainer L├╝dtke, Tobias Esch, George Stefano, Gustav Dobos

Med Sci Monit 2005; 11(12): CR555-561

ID: 438851

Background: Emotional distress is an increasing public health problem andHatha yoga has been claimed to induce stress reduction and empowerment in practicing subjects. We aimedto evaluate potential effects of Iyengar Hatha yoga on perceived stress and associated psychologicaloutcomes in mentally distressed women. Material/Methods: A controlled prospective non-randomized studywas conducted in 24 self-referred female subjects (mean age 37.9+/-7.3 years) who perceived themselvesas emotionally distressed. Subjects were offered participation in one of two subsequential 3-months yogaprograms. Group 1 (n=16) participated in the first class, group 2 (n=8) served as a waiting list control.During the yoga course, subjects attended two-weekly 90-min Iyengar yoga classes. Outcome was assessedon entry and after 3 months by Cohen Perceived Stress Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Profile ofMood States, CESD-Depression Scale, Bf-S/Bf-S' Well-Being Scales, Freiburg Complaint List and ratingsof physical well-being. Salivary cortisol levels were measured before and after an evening yoga classin a second sample. Results: Compared to waiting-list, women who participated in the yoga-training demonstratedpronounced and significant improvements in perceived stress (P

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