Has yoga been shown to have a healing effect?

3 Jun


In a comment to one of the answers of Is there any scientific evidence that prayer can help to heal? Konerak wrote:

That’s for intercessory prayer. Praying for yourself has been correlated to increased healing, but no more than meditation or yoga.

I’m curious if it has even been established that yoga hasa so-called “healing effect” where it can be advocated as being superior to other light-exercises like taking a walk? I am assuming that a healing effect has the same definition as in the above-mentioned question.

asked Apr 4 ’11 at 21:18
Kit Sunde 
62% accept rate
I’m not happy with equating yoga – even indirectly – with praying. It’s true that the original purpose of yoga was to aid meditation but most “western” practices of yoga don’t include prayer, and many don’t even include meditation (unless you count shavasana as meditation). /EDIT: I may actually have misunderstood the question. – Konrad Rudolph♦  Apr 5 ’11 at 11:31 
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1 Answer

According to the Cochrane collaboration:

Carpal Tunnel

Yoga is successful, short term, for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Current evidence shows significant short-term benefit from oral steroids, splinting, ultrasound, yoga and carpal bone mobilisation.

This is in line with more general findings that there pain reduction can be induced via meditation.


Yoga is better than regular exercise for schizophrenia patients

One trial compared exercise with yoga and found that yoga had a better outcome for mental state.


However, yoga had merely a “potentially beneficial effects” on depression:

Overall, the initial indications are of potentially beneficial effects of yoga interventions on depressive disorders. Variation in interventions, severity and reporting of trial methodology suggests that the findings must be interpreted with caution.

Anxiety disorder

Yoga is just as effective as other relaxation/meditation techniques:

Yoga did not show significant effectiveness in treating obsessive-compulsive disorders compared with Relaxation/Meditation.


Finally, yoga is not demonstrably effective on the following epilepsy:

No reliable conclusions can be drawn regarding the efficacy of yoga as a treatment for epilepsy.

edited Jun 3 at 12:08 
answered Apr 18 ’11 at 15:09

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