US study says yoga may benefit people with irregular heart rhythms
According to a US study, the health benefits of yoga are said to be legion, like everything from stress busting to lowering fat and stimulating the immune system. Now, it may also help people with a common heart rhythm problem also.
The American Heart Association states that about 2.7 million people in the U.S. have atrial fibrillation, in which the heart’s upper chambers quiver chaotically instead of contracting normally.
It also increases the risk of stroke. People with atrial fibrillation are often prescribed drugs such as beta blockers to help control their heart rate and rhythm.
The researchers said, “In patients with atrial fibrillation, yoga improves symptoms, arrhythmia burden, heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and depression scores and several domains of quality of life.
The study included 49 people who had AF for an average of five years. For three months, the researchers tracked their heart symptoms, blood pressure and heart rate as well as their anxiety, depression and general quality of life.
In the second phase of the study, the same participants went to group yoga classes atleast twice a week for an additional three months, again reporting on their symptoms and quality of life.
Throughout the study, all the patients were on stable medications. The average heart rate also fell from 67 beats per minute at the start to between 61 and 62 beats per minute post yoga.
The participants’ anxiety scores fell from an average of 34, on a scale of 20 to 85, to 25 after three months of yoga. The participants’ anxiety scores fell from an average of 34, on a scale of 20 to 80 to 25 after three months of yoga.
Further studies are needed to look at among things, including whether yoga may help AF patients cut back on medication.