Chronic over-activity of the body's endocrine stress response system is detrimental to overall health and, over time, may have a negative impact on the structure and function of the hippocampus, a key brain area involved in episodic memory consolidation. Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular mind-body therapy used to reduce and prevent the harmful effects of stress on the body. This review presents a summary of the research investigating yoga as a therapeutic intervention to reduce both perceived and physiological stress in healthy adults. Studies looking at the effects of yoga on hippocampal-dependent memory function in children, adults, and elderly populations were also reviewed. Research investigating the stress-reducing effects of yoga has indicated that yoga may hold therapeutic value in reducing both perceived and physiological stress in healthy populations. In children, yoga has been shown to improve spatial, but not verbal, memory. In adults and elderly individuals, studies indicate improvements in both short and long-term verbal recall following yoga intervention. Elderly individuals also showed increased hippocampal volume following long-term yoga practice. Due to the shortage of empirical evidence, along with several shared methodological limitations, further investigation is still needed to fully determine the efficacy of yoga as a beneficial mind-body therapy for decreasing both perceived and physiological stress-response, improving memory, and preventing stress and age-related hippocampal volume loss.
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 54/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Behavioral psychology, Alternative Medicine, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Cortisol, Hippocampus, Meditation, Memory, Stress, Yoga|
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