Yoga shown to improve irregular heartbeat

Yoga

YogaSometimes the best medicine doesn’t need a prescription. It appears as though irregular heartbeat might be improved by yoga. New research out of the University of Kansas Hospital suggests a strong correlation between heart rhythm disorders and regular yoga practice. Atrial fibrillation, also known as A-fib, is the most commonly diagnosed heart rhythm disorder, effecting about 2.6 million Americans. Irregular heartbeat, anxiety, depression and stroke are all on the list of A-fib’s unwelcome repercussions. Current treatment options to restore a regular heartbeat include antiarrhythmic drugs, blood thinners and invasive procedures. According to a recent University of Kansas Hospital study, yoga may be a viable new approach. Researchers observed 49 A-fib patients who were new to yoga and had no physical limitations. After three months of participating in their regular physical activities, they were instructed to spend another three months participating in a supervised yoga program. During this time, participants learned breathing exercises, yoga postures, meditation and relaxation. Yoga instruction was provided three times per week in 45-minute sessions. Patients were also encouraged to practice at home with a DVD. The study reported that those who practiced yoga had significantly reduce episodes of irregular heartbeat. Additionally, depression and anxiety declined while quality of life scores went up. “Yoga can be an effective, noninvasive adjunctive therapy for patients with atrial fibrillation who could benefit from its positive effects on the arrhythmia burden and quality of life,” said Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, the study’s lead investigator. Lakkireddy added that yoga should not replace blood thinners, antiarrhythmic medications or other interventional therapies.  By Marianne Hayes

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