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Yoga May Help Treat Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Posted: June 8, 2007

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But another expert pointed to what he considered flaws in the research.

Zindel Segal, chairman of psychotherapy and a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Toronto, has for years studied the use of behavioral interventions to alleviate psychological woes.

He said the Boston researchers were to be commended for using brain scan imaging technologies to investigate the effectiveness of these techniques. But he questioned why the yoga group was simply compared to a sedentary reading group and not to another movement-based group.

"Exercise itself may have some effects on GABA, so I think in this study, you'd really want that comparison," he said. Including such a control group would make it clear that it was yoga and not just an hour of physical exertion that was responsible for the brain changes.

He also pointed out that all of the people in the study were mentally healthy, and clinical depression and anxiety disorders involve more than the "daily fluctuations in stress and tension" that healthy individuals are prone to.