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Yoga could help ease symptoms for patients with heart concerns, study finds

Researchers say the practice has both physical and mental health benefits

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Photo (c) Galina Zhigalova - Getty Images
Recent studies have highlighted the countless health benefits associated with yoga, as the practice has been found to help everything from migraines to brain health

Now, a new study conducted by researchers from the European Society of Cardiology has found that following a yoga practice can also be beneficial for those struggling with atrial fibrillation -- a common heart condition that affects consumers’ heart rate. 

“The symptoms of atrial fibrillation can be distressing,” said researcher Dr. Naresh Sen. “They come and go, causing many patients to feel anxious and limiting their ability to live a normal life.” 

Reducing symptoms

To understand the effect that yoga can have on consumers’ heart health, the researchers tracked 540 participants over a seven-month period. During the first three months, the group lived normally with no interventions but were asked to record any symptoms of atrial fibrillation that they experienced. For the final four months, the researchers asked them to continue recording symptoms while taking yoga classes several times per week and practicing poses and breathing exercises at home. 

The researchers found that the four months of yoga was beneficial to the participants in several ways. Not only were atrial fibrillation symptoms roughly half as likely after introducing yoga to the participants, but they reported overall better physical and mental health outcomes due to the practice. 

Consistent with findings from another recent study, the researchers also learned that four months of yoga was effective at lowering participants’ blood pressure. Moving forward, the researchers hope that these findings can be beneficial to those struggling with atrial fibrillation, as there are several ways that a yoga practice can help ease symptoms. 

“Our study suggests that yoga has wide-ranging physical and mental health benefits for patients with atrial fibrillation and could be added on top of usual therapies,” said Dr. Sen. 

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