Article published by Medical News Today
A new study in Neurology reports that doing yoga may help reduce seizure frequency, anxiety, and feelings of stigma that frequently comes with having epilepsy. “People with epilepsy often face stigma that can cause them to feel different than others due to their own health condition and that can have a significant impact on their quality of life,” said Dr. Manjari Tripathi, a study author and neurologist with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. “This stigma can affect a person’s life in many ways including treatment, emergency department visits, and poor mental health. Our study showed that doing yoga can alleviate the burden of epilepsy and improve the overall quality of life by reducing this perceived stigma.” Researchers looked at people with epilepsy with an average age of 30 in India. They measured stigma based on participants’ answers to questions about being discriminated against, feeling different from other people, and whether they feel they contribute to society. The scientists then identified 160 people meeting the criteria for experiencing stigma. Participants averaged one seizure per week and, on average, took at least two antiseizure medications. The team then randomly selected subjects to receive yoga therapy or sham yoga therapy. Researchers reported that people doing yoga were more likely to have reduced perception of stigma. The team also discovered people who did yoga were more than four times as likely to have more than a 50% reduction in their seizure frequency after six months than the people who did sham yoga. There was also a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms for those who did yoga compared to people who did not. Researchers said they saw improvements in quality of life measures and mindfulness.