Yoga's Mental Benefits? Maybe None

But new study does show it can help you physically
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2011 9:22 AM CDT
Yoga's Mental Benefits? Maybe None
Yoga may not actually provide mental benefits, a new study shows.   (Shutterstock)

Bad news for those of you who assumed yoga was curing all that ails you: A new study found no evidence that yoga's mental effects benefit the body. The good news is that yoga does help to relieve lower back pain, the Wall Street Journal reports. However, stretching was found to be equally as effective as yoga at easing the pain—indicating that yoga’s mental component plays no role.

The study, thought to be the largest of its kind, followed 228 adults with chronic low back pain not attributable to any specific cause. Subjects were divided into three groups: One group took a yoga class, one group a stretching class, and the final group was given instructions for self-care. Those in the self-care group were less likely to complete the exercises or spend as much time on them. About 50% of those in the two classes said their back pain felt much improved or completely better, compared to around 20% of those practicing self-care. (And in other exercise-related news, spinning gets less sweaty...)

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