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Yoga and stress management

GABA Receptor
Steven Edwards at Wired Blog writes a post titled Yoga Boosts Brain’s GABA Levels, saying that “Participants in the yoga group had a 27% increase in GABA levels, while those in the reading group remained unchanged. Co-authors Chris Streeter from BUSM and Domenic Ciraulo pointed out that this research shows a method of treating low GABA states. Fairly obvious — yes — but this shows a nonpharmacological method for increasing GABA levels that people can act on now, without waiting for a drug to go through FDA approval.”

Having attended last week a conference where neuropharma executives presented all their future drugs against obesity, anxiety, depression…I couldn’t agree more. The rates of serious side effects of these drugs are astounding, yet as a society we seem to prefer to rely on taking drugs when are sick rather than proactively taking charge of our health and lifestyles and do our best (which not always is enough) to protect our fitness and wellness.

The press release Steven talks about: Yoga and Elevated Brain GABA Levels [PhysOrg]. Quotes:

  • “Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and McLean Hospital have found that practicing yoga may elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels, the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. The findings, which appear in the May issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, suggest that the practice of yoga be explored as a possible treatment for depression and anxiety, disorders associated with low GABA levels.”
  • “The development of an inexpensive, widely available intervention such as yoga that has no side effects but is effective in alleviating the symptoms of disorders associated with low GABA levels has clear public health advantage,” added senior author Perry Renshaw, MD, PhD, director of the Brain Imaging Center at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.

Related posts:

Are yoga and meditation good for my brain?

Stress Management Workshop for International Women’s Day

Bill Clinton on health care and wellness

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13 Responses

  1. Yoga could make you happier.

    Ok, to anyone who regularly practices yoga, this is not news. But this new study gives some bio-chemical reason for why yoga can make you feel happier and calmer.

    ….So, increased brain GABA levels may be why previous studies have found that yoga helps improve depression, anxiety, and epilepsy….

  2. Alvaro says:

    Hi Pamela,

    There are a number of benefits from yoga, on its own and as a great stress management technique, that go beyond GABA levels. But it is great to better understand what is going on, and be able to have a better picture of what specific techniques are better for what goals. Kind regards

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