Yoga Offers Striking Benefits For Alzheimer's Caregivers
Date 2012/4/14 17:26:42 | Topic: Hindu Press International
UNITED STATES, April 7, 2012 (psychcentral.com): When caregivers of people with Alzheimer's use yoga to engage in very brief, easy daily meditations, they lower levels of depression, improve cognitive functioning and reduce stress-induced cellular aging, says a new UCLA study.
Currently, at least five million Americans care for someone with dementia. Over the next two decades, the frequency of dementia and the number of family caregivers who provide support to these loved ones will increase dramatically. The extreme burden on caregivers can be severe.
"We know that chronic stress places caregivers at a higher risk for developing depression. On average, the incidence and prevalence of clinical depression in family dementia caregivers approaches 50 percent. Caregivers are also twice as likely to report high levels of emotional distress," said Dr. Helen Lavretsky, professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
For the study, researchers recruited 49 caregivers who were taking care of a relative with dementia. Of them, 36 were adult children and 13 were spouses, with ages ranging from 45 to 91 years old.
The volunteers were randomly placed in one of two groups. The meditation group engaged in a brief, 12-minute yogic chanting meditation called Kirtan Kriya. This was performed every day at the same time for eight weeks. The other group relaxed in a quiet place by closing their eyes and listening to instrumental music on a relaxation CD, also for 12 minutes every day at the same time for eight weeks.
At the end of the eight weeks, the meditation group had significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms and greater improvement in mental health and cognitive functioning, compared with the relaxation group.