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Hot yoga combats depression

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If you suffer from depression, try a few sessions of hot yoga.

It could halve the severity of symptoms, especially if you suffer from moderate to severe depression, a new research study has discovered.

Hot, or Bikram, yoga takes place in a room heated to around 105 degrees F (40 degrees C).

Taking part in two sessions a week for eight weeks can even put depression into remission, say researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital.

They tested the impact of Bikram yoga on a group of 80 people who had been diagnosed with depression.  Half had two 90-minute sessions of yoga twice a week for eight weeks and the rest were put on a waiting list, and who did the yoga in the second, eight-week phase of the trial.

Nearly 60 percent of people in the yoga group saw their depressive symptoms halve, and 44 percent also recorded scores that suggested their depression was in remission.

Some of the participants who did the yoga just once a week also reported an improvement in their symptoms.

In the next phase of their studies, the researchers will be comparing Bikram against standard yoga to see if it is the yoga or the heat—or a combination of the two—that helps depression.

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References
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2023; 84: doi: 10.4088/JCP.22m14621
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