Interest is growing in using yoga as a possible treatment for those suffering from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or PTSD.
But research done at UNC suggests that while there are health benefits related to yoga, there is not enough evidence to support it as a solution to mental health problems.
“As a standalone treatment right now, it’s just not viable,” said Leslie Roach, a certified yoga instructor who co-authored the study. “However, I think with more education, more research, and more experienced instructors, it will be.”
The research looked at 13 literature reviews to conduct a meta-review of 185 articles published between 2000 and 2013.
They found that yoga holds potential promise for helping improve anxiety, depression, PTSD or the psychological consequences of trauma at least in the short term.
“Even though I do think yoga is, in general, incredibly beneficial, I also think there needs to be a whole lot more education about how to use yoga specifically to treat survivors of trauma in order to be the most effective and helpful,” Roach said.
Roach and UNC researcher Rebecca Macy are considering several possible future studies, including one that would examine the use of yoga within a rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter.