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Science Awakes to Benefits Of Yoga

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AUSTRALIA, August 28,2012 (The Age) Practising yoga is just ahead of Australian rules football in the list of the most popular physical activities among the citizens of this country — at least according to surveys. Researchers have also found that yoga and meditation can assist a range of health problems and medical conditions, including chronic pain, lower back pain, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, while also reducing the need for pain-relief medicines.

New research at RMIT University has found that yoga can help older people overcome insomnia and improve their mental and emotional health. The study found that practising yoga for at least 25 minutes a day for 12 weeks improved the sleep patterns of the volunteers taking part and enhanced their psychological and emotional wellbeing.

Professor Marc Cohen, foundation professor of complementary medicine at RMIT who supervised the research, says the findings show yoga is an effective, affordable and safe exercise for older people with insomnia.

Insomnia is a debilitating problem and one of the most frequent health complaints among the elderly, Professor Cohen says. “We wanted to explore this because insomnia impairs daily function, reduces quality of life and is a risk factor for other health issues for older people. Drugs used to help treat this condition are only recommended for short-term use and have limited effectiveness.”

“Regular yoga practice may have multiple benefits to the individual and to the community, and may reduce the burden on the healthcare system due to associated lifestyle choices such as vegetarianism, non-smoking, reduced alcohol consumption, increased exercise, reduced stress, and other mental and physical health benefits,” say researchers.

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