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“Yoga shows promise in improving heart function”

May 13, 2024 8:38 PM IST

A recent study presented at the Heart Failure 2024, a scientific meeting of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), suggests that yoga focusing on breathing, meditation, and relaxation could lead to better heart function.

According to Dr. Ajit Singh from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India, patients who incorporated yoga alongside their prescribed medications experienced enhanced well-being, increased activity levels, and improved heart function compared to those solely relying on medication. These findings highlight the potential of yoga as a complementary therapy for heart failure patients.

Heart failure affects over 64 million people worldwide, severely impacting their quality of life by causing fatigue, breathlessness, and limitations in daily activities. While previous studies have demonstrated the short-term benefits of yoga, this research sheds light on its long-term effects.

Conducted at Kasturba Hospital in Manipal, the study enrolled 85 patients aged 30 to 70, who had undergone cardiac procedures within the past six months to a year and were already on guideline-recommended heart failure medications. Patients with severe symptoms were excluded from the study.

Participants were divided into a yoga group and a control group, with the former receiving instruction in pranayama (yogic breathwork), meditation, and relaxation techniques from experienced yoga instructors. After a week of supervised sessions, they continued practicing yoga at home once a week for 50 minutes, with periodic check-ins with instructors to monitor progress.

Throughout the study, researchers used echocardiography to assess heart structure and function, measuring parameters such as left ventricular ejection fraction and right ventricular function. They also monitored blood pressure, heart rate, body weight, and body mass index, while evaluating symptom severity and functional capacity using the New York Heart Association classification system.

Results showed that the yoga group exhibited significantly greater improvements in all measured outcomes at six months and one year compared to baseline, surpassing the control group.

Dr. Singh emphasized the importance of consulting with healthcare providers before starting yoga and receiving proper training from experienced instructors. The patients were also advised to continue their prescribed medications as usual, as yoga might not be suitable for those with severe heart failure symptoms.

(With ANI inputs)

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