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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Profile of mood states and stress-related biochemical indices in long-term yoga practitioners

Kazufumi Yoshihara12*, Tetsuya Hiramoto1, Nobuyuki Sudo1 and Chiharu Kubo1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashiku, Fukuoka, Japan

2 Division of Cerebral Integration, Department of Cerebral Research, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, 38 Myodaiji-Nishigonaka, Okazaki, Aichi, Japan

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BioPsychoSocial Medicine 2011, 5:6  doi:10.1186/1751-0759-5-6

Published: 3 June 2011

Abstract

Background

Previous studies have shown the short-term or intermediate-term practice of yoga to be useful for ameliorating several mental disorders and psychosomatic disorders. However, little is known about the long-term influences of yoga on the mental state or stress-related biochemical indices. If yoga training has a stress-reduction effect and also improves an individual's mental states for a long time, long-term yoga practitioners may have a better mental state and lower stress-related biochemical indices in comparison to non-experienced participants. This study simultaneously examined the differences in mental states and urinary stress-related biochemical indices between long-term yoga practitioners and non-experienced participants.

Methods

The participants were 38 healthy females with more than 2 years of experience with yoga (long-term yoga group) and 37 age-matched healthy females who had not participated in yoga (control group). Their mental states were assessed using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire. The level of cortisol, 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and biopyrrin in urine were used as stress-related biochemical indices.

Results

The average self-rated mental disturbance, tension-anxiety, anger-hostility, and fatigue scores of the long-term yoga group were lower than those of the control group. There was a trend toward a higher vigor score in the long-term yoga group than that in the control group. There were no significant differences in the scores for depression and confusion in the POMS between the two groups. The urine 8-OHdG concentration showed a trend toward to being lower in the long-term yoga group in comparison to the control group. There were no significant differences in the levels of urine biopyrrin or cortisol.

Conclusions

The present findings suggest that long-term yoga training can reduce the scores related to mental health indicators such as self-rated anxiety, anger, and fatigue.