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International Yoga Day 2021: 10 Diseases That Can Be Treated With Yoga

Yoga is one such form of exercise that actually boasts an impressive plethora of physical and mental benefits, which include reducing depression symptoms, improving heart health, building strength and flexibility. But one of the benefits of yoga that stands out is its potent ability to treat diseases.

Various health conditions or diseases such as asthma, hypertension, diabetes, anxiety and depression, joint and muscle pain, back pain, cancer and so on can be treated with several types of yoga [1] .

However, one needs to keep in mind that practising only yoga will not help in curing the diseases. But yoga should be a part of the treatment process.

Here are some diseases that yoga could treat. Read on.

1. Cancer

The yoga asana called Hatha yoga can improve the quality of life in cancer patients. Practising Hatha yoga as a part of the cancer treatment process has also shown improvements in biomarkers such as TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and Interleukin 6 [2] . However, Hatha yoga has no effect on the underlying cause of the disease.

2. Back pain

Low back pain is caused due to many factors like injury, poor posture, repetitive motion, or ageing. Hatha yoga is one of the yoga exercises that is effective in the management of chronic low back pain. Hatha yoga form usually combines elements of postural positioning, concentration, breathing, and meditation [3] .

3. Coronary atherosclerosis

Patients with coronary artery disease should practice deep breathing exercises like Pranayama as it lowers serum cholesterol levels (total cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and LDL cholesterol), improves exercise capacity, and reduces body weight [4] .

4. Asthma

Pranayama is a deep breathing exercise which can help overcome and prevent asthma attacks. During Pranayama, the air that you inhale pushes open the closed or non-functioning alveoli of lungs. This fills the lung capillaries with more oxygen and regulates your breathing rate [5] .

5. Diabetes

The Surya Namaskar is a twelve-step yoga asana that involves stretching and breathing, which is very much effective in controlling and managing diabetes, as it elevates the production of insulin from the pancreas [6] .

6. Heart problems

The cobra pose is effective in treating heart problems, as it aids in stretching and expanding the chest, thereby allowing more blood flow to the heart and stimulating it. Another breathing exercise called Kapalbhati is helpful in treating heart diseases, because it promotes the intake of more air into the lungs and allows more oxygen to spread into the pulmonary blood circulation [7] .

7. Anxiety and depression

Backbend yoga is another form of yoga, which is effective in fighting anxiety and depression and helps in relaxing your mind [8] . In an anxiety attack, the body and mind go into a panic mode, which makes your body flooded with 'fight or flight hormone'. So, simple deep breathing exercises can help relax your mind and body.

8. Hypertension

Sarvangasana yoga, in particular, has been shown to be beneficial in preventing and treating hypertension. This form of yoga combined with relaxation, psychotherapy, and transcendental meditation has an anti-hypertensive effect [9] .

9. Stomach problems

The child pose is extremely beneficial in curing indigestion problems by helping in proper bowel movements. It also aids in relieving irritable bowel syndrome and other stomach-related problems [10] .

10. Joint and muscle pain

The tree pose is effective in treating bone, joint and muscle pain by correcting back alignment and strengthening the lower back muscles. Surya Namaskar is also beneficial in treating joint pain and arthritis.

View Article References
  1. [1] Sengupta P. (2012). Health Impacts of Yoga and Pranayama: A State-of-the-Art Review.International journal of preventive medicine,3(7), 444–458.
  2. [2] Rao, R. M., Amritanshu, R., Vinutha, H. T., Vaishnaruby, S., Deepashree, S., Megha, M., … Ajaikumar, B. S. (2017). Role of Yoga in Cancer Patients: Expectations, Benefits, and Risks: A Review.Indian journal of palliative care,23(3), 225–230.
  3. [3] Chang, D. G., Holt, J. A., Sklar, M., & Groessl, E. J. (2016). Yoga as a treatment for chronic low back pain: A systematic review of the literature.Journal of orthopedics & rheumatology,3(1), 1–8.
  4. [4] Manchanda, S. C., Narang, R., Reddy, K. S., Sachdeva, U., Prabhakaran, D., Dharmanand, S., ... & Bijlani, R. (2000). Retardation of coronary atherosclerosis with yoga lifestyle intervention.The Journal of the Association of Physicians of India,48(7), 687-694.
  5. [5] Saxena, T., & Saxena, M. (2009). The effect of various breathing exercises (pranayama) in patients with bronchial asthma of mild to moderate severity.International journal of yoga,2(1), 22–25.
  6. [6] Malhotra, V., Singh, S., Tandon, O. P., & Sharma, S. B. (2005). The beneficial effect of yoga in diabetes.Nepal Medical College journal: NMCJ,7(2), 145-147.
  7. [7] Gomes-Neto, M., Rodrigues, E. S., Jr, Silva, W. M., Jr, & Carvalho, V. O. (2014). Effects of Yoga in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure: A Meta-Analysis.Arquivos brasileiros de cardiologia,103(5), 433–439.
  8. [8] Shapiro, D., Cook, I. A., Davydov, D. M., Ottaviani, C., Leuchter, A. F., & Abrams, M. (2007). Yoga as a complementary treatment of depression: effects of traits and moods on treatment outcome.Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM,4(4), 493–502.
  9. [9] Vaghela, N., Mishra, D., Mehta, J. N., Punjabi, H., Patel, H., & Sanchala, I. (2019). Awareness and practice of aerobic exercise and yoga among hypertensive patients in Anand city.Journal of Education and Health Promotion,8(1), 28.
  10. [10] Kavuri, V., Raghuram, N., Malamud, A., & Selvan, S. R. (2015). Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Yoga as Remedial Therapy.Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM,2015, 398156.