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The benefits of yoga are never ending. A regular practice can: reduce stress, encourage positive thinking, promote a healthy body image, increase strength and flexibility, improve balance, and boost self-esteem. The list goes on of course. But yoga hasn’t always been given its props as a stress reducer compared to techniques like meditation in medical literature. But thanks to an article in Harvard Health Publishing, Yoga is getting the attention it deserves for reducing perceived stress and anxiety, aiding those who suffer from anxiety and depression.

Anxiety Relief

According to a study conducted at the University of Utah, yoga can offer natural anxiety relief. These researchers measured the effect yoga had on the stress response by a participant’s sensitivity to pain. Researchers put to the test three different groups: 14 people with fibromyalgia, 16 people with no health concerns, and 12 experienced yogis. Using thumbnail pressure on different scales, this study showed that regular yoga practitioners had the highest pain tolerance, while those with fibromyalgia experienced pain at lower pressure points. This also showed up in the Functional MRIs of those participants with fibromyalgia as a greater pain response. The researchers believe that this study “underscores the value of techniques, such as yoga, that can help a person regulate their stress and, therefore, pain responses.”

Other Stress Responses

In many studies, yoga has been proven to help alleviate the effects of depression and anxiety, and can increase a person’s overall well-being, when practiced regularly. It can also reduce headaches, back pain, and improve sleep quality. With an estimated 21 million adults practicing yoga in the U.S., it definitely deserves attention for its medical benefits.

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