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Friday, August 22, 2008

no sweat!

this article popped up on one of my health and fitness news sites today, and after reading it, i wondered: have i never experienced hot flashes because of my regular yoga practice, or i am just darned lucky? not only that, but if i didn't do any yoga at all, would i be any more forgetful than i am now? what a scary thought!

Yoga soothes worst symptoms of menopause
Women had fewer night sweats, better concentration, study says

NEW YORK - Yoga can reduce hot flashes and night sweats among women going through menopause, and also appears to sharpen their mental function, researchers from India report.

To investigate whether yoga would help women with physical and cognitive symptoms of menopause, they randomly assigned 120 menopausal women, 40 to 55 years old, to yoga practice or simple stretching and strengthening exercises five days a week for eight weeks.

The postures, breathing and meditation included in the yoga intervention were "aimed at one common effect, i.e. 'to develop mastery over modifications of the mind' ... through 'slowing down the rate of flow of thoughts in the mind,"' the researchers explain.

Women in the yoga group also listened to lectures on using yoga to manage stress and other yoga-related topics, while those in the control group heard lectures on diet, exercise, the physiology of menopause, and stress.

After eight weeks, women in the yoga group showed a significant reduction in hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances, while the women in the control group did not, Dr. R. Chattha, of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in Bangalore, India, and colleagues found.

Both groups showed improvements in a test of attention and concentration, although improvement in the yoga group was significantly greater. In a test of memory and intelligence with 10 components, the yoga group improved on eight, while the control group improved on six. Improvements were significantly greater in the yoga group than in the control group on seven of the subtests.

"The present study shows the superiority of yoga over physical activity in improving the cognitive functions that could be attributed to emphasis on correctness in breathing, synchronizing breathing with body movements, relaxation and mindful rest," the researchers suggest.

here are the finer points of that study. science geeks -- read on...

Effect of yoga on cognitive functions in climacteric syndrome: a randomised control study.

Chattha R, Nagarathna R, Padmalatha V, Nagendra HR.

Division of Yoga and Life Sciences Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA), Bangalore, India.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of an integrated approach of yoga therapy (IAYT) on cognitive abilities in climacteric syndrome.

DESIGN: A randomised control study wherein the participants were divided into experimental and control groups.

SETTINGS: Fourteen centres of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, India.

SAMPLE: One hundred and eight perimenopausal women between 40 and 55 years with follicle-stimulating hormone level equal to or greater than 15 miu/ml. One hundred and twenty perimenopausal women were randomly allotted into the yoga and the control groups.

METHODS: The yoga group practised a module comprising breathing practices, sun salutation and cyclic meditation, whereas the control group practised a set of simple physical exercises, under supervision (1 hour/day, 5 days/week for 8 weeks).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Assessments were made by vasomotor symptom checklist, six-letter cancellation test (SLCT) for attention and concentration and Punit Govil Intelligence Memory Scale (PGIMS) with ten subtests.

RESULTS: The Wilcoxon test showed significant (P < 0.001) reduction in hot flushes, night sweats and sleep disturbance in yoga group, with a trend of significant difference between groups at P = 0.06 on Mann-Whitney test in night sweats. There was no change within or between groups in the control group. The SLCT score and the PGIMS showed significant improvement in eight of ten subtests in the yoga group and six of ten subtests in the control group. The yoga group performed significantly better (P < 0.001) with higher effect sizes in SLCT and seven tests of PGIMS compared with the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: Integrated approach of yoga therapy can improve hot flushes and night sweats. It also can improve cognitive functions such as remote memory, mental balance, attention and concentration, delayed and immediate recall, verbal retention and recognition tests.