Yoga could soon be used to treat childhood anxiety disorders…

Yoga KidsUnfortunately we now live in an era where medication is prescribed way to frequently and in a lot of cases, there are alternative methods to treating some conditions which we tend to disregard. The purpose of this short article is to highlight a recent study which was conducted by the University of Cincinnati and published in the Journal of Child and Adolescents Psychopharmacology that looked at an alternative way to treat anxiety disorders in adolescents.
Anxiety is a growing concern throughout the UK, USA and throughout the majority of the developed world. Modern technology, social media and high expectations are widely considered as some contributing factors to anxiety in children. This is an area we focus on heavily during our personal trainer courses and also the exercise referral qualification.
The study conducted by the University of Cincinnati looked at various forms of anxiety including generalised, social and separation anxiety as well as bipolar in children aged 9-16 years old. Over the 12 week study the children underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans while they practised mindfulness – based cognitive therapy. It was thought that by practising a range of therapeutic techniques that include meditation and yoga the subjects / children would demonstrate an improved ability to manage and cope with psychological distress which could have been the foundation to their anxiety.
The study concluded that its initial thoughts were correct and the majority of all participants reported a significant improvement in anxiety and other cognitive disorders through practising Yoga and other cognitive strategies.
As well as the study outlined above, at Fitasylum we have received several reports from past and current students who practice Yoga suggesting it helps relieve stress, improve clarity of mind and also performance in the classroom and at work. With this in mind, should Schools, Colleges and Universities be promoting mindfulness exercises and techniques to help manage stress, anxiety and improve academic performances rather than allowing students to live off pro plus and other stimulating substances? These claims are strongly supported by the Yoga for Stress Relief campaigns who target cognitive health in adolescents.
Yoga is by far more than a physical activity which promotes balance, coordination, flexibility and other physical components of health and fitness. It is also clear from the study outlined above and the Yoga for Stress Relief campaigns that Yoga should be considered for cognitive health in adolescents and adults.

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