Research Topic

Yoga and mental health: Prevention, management of mental health disorders and mechanism of action

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According to the World Health Organization one in four people around the world will suffer from mental disorders at some point in their lives. Stressful life situations, experiencing traumatic events and the use of illegal drugs are regarded as important risk factors for mental illness. In the last few ...

According to the World Health Organization one in four people around the world will suffer from mental disorders at some point in their lives. Stressful life situations, experiencing traumatic events and the use of illegal drugs are regarded as important risk factors for mental illness. In the last few decades increasing scientific evidence indicates that yoga can be useful in managing mental health disorders. Yoga has been shown to be beneficial in managing stress, anxiety and reducing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, rigorously designed research in clinical settings is still lacking. There are several areas of importance which require to be researched rigorously. These include the role of yoga (i) in preventing the onset of mental illness in those at risk, (ii) in the management of mental health disorders as an add-on therapy, and (iii) in the rehabilitation of patients who are chronically unwell and are in rehabilitation centers or half-way homes. Another area of interest would be to understand how yoga may bring about the benefits and other effects observed. It would be especially of interest to study the effects on neurotransmitters (as in recent studies magnetic resonance spectroscopy 1-2 has been used) as well as in functioning of specific brain areas based on neuro-imaging and electrophysiological studies.

Possible areas for future research:
• Yoga in the prevention of mental disorders and promotion of mental wellbeing.
• Yoga in the management of mental disorders and in the rehabilitation of patients.
• Mechanisms underlying the effects of yoga.
• Yoga techniques specially suited or to be avoided in patients with mental health disorders.
In summary this research topic is intended to create a platform to prevent and discuss the scientific evidence for the usefulness of yoga in preventing or managing mental health disorders, and the mechanisms involved. We welcome original research and review articles related to these areas. The original research should describe studies conducted on both healthy volunteers and patients.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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