Yoga May Help Women in Menopause, Research Shows

Yoga may help women limit symptoms of menopause, according to researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle, the Daily Mail reported. The researchers found stress reduction therapies, including yoga, may offer an alternative to hormone replacement therapy for women in menopause. The review was published in the menopause journal Climacteric.

Professor Nancy Woods and colleagues are the first to study the effect of these therapies on multiple issues, including hot flashes and low mood, rather than individual problems, and examined non-drug studies, including herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, yoga, exercise and relaxation.

The researchers found relaxation therapies and yoga showed the most promise, and yoga significantly cut hot flushes, while improving concentration, sleep and pain levels. Also, in certain groups, yoga showed benefits for sleep, mood, and pain symptoms

‘Selected mind-body therapies may provide useful treatment for menopausal symptoms, although properly controlled studies are still required to confirm these benefits,’ Woods stated. “In particular, yoga showed significant treatment effects for hot flushes and cognitive symptoms.”

20-Minutes of Hatha Yoga Improves Brain Function, Study Shows

Can a 20-minute session of Hatha yoga actually improve brain function?

Neha Gothe and her colleagues at the University of Illinois student performed a study with 30 female, undergraduate students to show it can, and the findings were published in the “Journal of Physical Activity and Health.”

Participants in the study improved speed and accuracy on tests of working memory and inhibitory control – two measures of brain function associated with the ability to maintain focus, take in, retain and use new information, Business Standard reported.

“Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that includes not only physical movements and postures but also regulated breathing and meditation,” Neha Gothe, who led the study while a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said in the report. Gothe is now a professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at Wayne State University in Detroit. “The practice involves an active attentional or mindfulness component, but its potential benefits have not been thoroughly explored.”

The study revealed participants had more improvement in their reaction times and accuracy on cognitive tasks after yoga practice compared to after an aerobic exercise session, which showed no significant improvements on the working memory and inhibitory control scores.

“It appears that following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout,” Gothe said.

Kripalu Yoga Shows Psychological Benefits for High School Students

Kripalu yoga classes have shown to have positive psychological effects on high-school students, according to a pilot study in the April “Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics,” the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

“Yoga may serve a preventive role in adolescent mental health,” according to the new study, led by Jessica Noggle, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Based on Kripalu yoga, the classes for the study consisted of physical yoga postures together with breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation. A total of 51 11th- and 12th-grade students registered for physical education (PE) at a Massachusetts high school and were randomly assigned to yoga or regular PE classes, with two-thirds assigned to yoga.

The students completed a battery of psychosocial tests, including tests of mood and tension/anxiety, before and after the 10-week yoga program. Both groups completed tests assessing the development of self-regulatory skills—such as resilience, control of anger expression, and mindfulness—thought to protect against the development of mental health problems.

Teens taking yoga classes had better scores on several of the psychological tests. Specifically, students in regular PE classes tended to have increased scores for mood problems and anxiety, compared to those taking yoga classes who stayed the same or showed improvement.

Furthermore, negative emotions also worsened in students taking regular PE, while improving in those taking yoga.

Yoga Helps Women Balance Hormones

Yoga has a huge number of benefits, from relaxation, mind and body balance, toning and so much more. In an article recently published on, the author noted three ways yoga can help balance women’s hormones, including easing hot flashes from menopause, reliving anxiety and increasing libido.

Helping the Hot Flashes
An Indian study of 120 women proved the connection between yoga and the reduction of hot flashes, finding those who practiced yoga five days a week for an hour each time, which including breathing exercises and meditation, hot flashes and night sweats reduced by 50 percent compared to those just doing stretching exercises. The yoga group also reported improvement in memory, the report stated.

Relieves Anxiety and Improves Mood
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) found yoga may be superior to other types of exercise for relieving anxiety and uplifting the mood. Their study compared gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels (which are low in those with depression and anxiety disorders) of those who practiced yoga to those who walked. Each group exercised three times a week, for an hour at a time, and participants brain’s were scanned with a magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) before the study, and then before and after each hour-long session. Also, each person evaluated their mood at several stages throughout the study, the report stated.

Those who practiced yoga reported a more substantial decrease in anxiety, and more significant improvements in mood than those who walked, and over time, the positive changes were associated with higher GABA levels, according to Chris Streeter, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine.

Improve Women’s Libido
Sadie Nardini, the yoga instructor and co-owner of The Fierce Club in New York City, recommended “The Kneeling Core Plank” to help women improve their libido, explaining: “By working your pelvic floor muscles along with the glutes, waist, thighs, abs and arms, you’ll feel more like taking your clothes off, and then be even more glad you did,” she said in the article.

Consumer Reports Survey Reveals Most Helpful Alternative Treatments

Alternative healing treatments continue to gain popularity, and a reader survey by Consumers Union, publishers of Consumer Reports, showed three out of four adults use some form of alternative therapy for general health, according to a report on Also, doctors are more open to alternative therapies than many people realize.

Chiropractic, deep-tissue massage and yoga dominated the lists of helpful alternative treatments for discomfort from conditions such as back pain, neck pain and osteoarthritis, and the reader survey also revealed meditation, deep-breathing exercises and yoga are being used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, headache and migraine, depression and insomnia, the article stated.

Highlights from the survey as reported by include the following:

–   Meditation and yoga proved equally effective for treating anxiety as 42 percent and 46 percent respectively of those surveyed said these therapies “helped a lot.” The same is true for depression, with 36 percent and 35 percent reporting improvement.

–   Yoga did nearly as well as meditation for treating insomnia – 21 percent and 24 percent but, it significantly outperformed meditation for headaches and migraine, and especially for back pain. In fact, for back pain, yoga, deep-tissue massage and Pilates all rated around the same as prescription medication. However, chiropractic therapy outperformed all other treatments.

–   For respiratory problems such as cold, flu and allergies, the survey found that very small numbers of readers tried deep-breathing exercises or chiropractic care. However, those who did reported promising results. Although only 2 percent of cold, flu or allergy sufferers sought chiropractic care, more than 40 percent said it helped a lot. The same with the 3 percent who tried deep-breathing for allergies, with 32 percent who reported it helped a lot. Three percent also tried deep-breathing for cold and flu and 35 percent said it helped a lot, the report stated.

–   Of alternative treatments used for general health, mainstream vitamins and minerals were the most widely used, with 73 percent of respondents who reported taking them, and approximately one in five reported using mind-body therapies, such as yoga, or hands-on therapies, such as massage.

–   Readers are keeping their doctors in the loop to varying degrees about their use of alternative therapies. And some even report turning to these options on a doctor’s recommendation. Twenty-eight percent of readers who used deep-tissue massage, usually for back or neck pain, said their doctors had recommended it; 26 percent of people who used deep-breathing exercises did so on the recommendation of a doctor, and the same was true for the 21 percent who saw a chiropractor.