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Psychiatrist.comA Randomized Controlled Trial of Community-Delivered Heated Hatha Yoga for Moderate-to-Severe Depression

Heated Yoga Sessions Show Promise in Alleviating Depression Symptoms

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry has explored the potential benefits of heated yoga as a treatment for moderate-to-severe depression. The study was conducted over an 8-week period and involved community-delivered heated Hatha yoga sessions.

Study Design

  • The study was an 8-week randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted from March 2017 to August 2019.
  • Participants in the yoga condition were asked to attend heated yoga classes at two community heated yoga studios at least twice weekly.
  • A total of 65 participants (mean age 32.7 years; 81.5% female) were included in the analyses (yoga n=33, waitlist n=32)
  • Participants attended an average of 10.3 total classes over the 8-week intervention period.

Key Findings

  • Yoga participants had a significantly greater pre- to post-intervention reduction in the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology—Clinician Rated (IDS-CR) scores than waitlist participants (Cohen d =1.04, P <.001).
  • More yoga participants (59.3%; n=16) than waitlist participants (6.3%; n=2) evidenced larger treatment responses (IDS-CR ≥50% decrease in symptoms).

According to a report by the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression.

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