Health Report 6/19/13 Yoga as medication

June 19th, 2013

Millions of people practice yoga as a way to stay fit or for relaxation. But could it be used as medication?
Lou Baxter has more on its impact on kids.

"So Aaron, we're going to start class like we usually start class with our breathing."

Aaron Schaefer spent years battling debilitating migraines caused by stress.

"Deep breath in and out."

Since starting this yoga class, the headaches are gone.

Aaron Schaefer, takes yoga classes for headaches, says: "When I started taking yoga, it was like a cure from heaven."

Researchers at Duke University are studying whether a program that combines yoga and other therapies can help children's mental and physical health.

Murali Doraiswamy, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke Medicine says: "It calms you down. It relaxes your body. It lowers your heart rate. It lowers you respiration, and in general, it reduces the effects of stress on your body."

Doctor Doraiswamy says these relaxation responses can help mild depression and sleep disorders. Yoga may also provide additional benefits for people with schizophrenia and ADHD when combined with standard drugs.

Dr. Doraiswamy, says: "The benefits were of the same magnitude of the benefits we see with psychiatric medications."

Previous studies have shown yoga-based techniques can help individuals cope with anxiety, stress and low mood. Researchers are studying whether these methods can be adapted for children and teens.

Anava Wren, doctoral candidate in clinical psychology, Duke University, says: "Often times they don't fully understand that kind of awareness of body and the awareness of how their thoughts and emotions can be tied in with how they're feeling physically."

His dad says it's been a great stress reliever for Aaron.

Paul Schaefer, Aaron's father, says: "What had been three or four, you know, a dozen headaches a week, disappeared completely."

And Aaron can now concentrate on his dream of becoming an architect.



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