What is a ‘dosage’? Chris Streeter MD, associate professor of psychiatry at BUSM explains, “We give medications in different doses in order to enact their effects on the body to varying degrees. Here, we explored the same concept but used yoga. We call that a dosing study.”
Mindfulness is a mental state of deliberate self-awareness. It focuses on your feelings and sensory experiences in the here and now. With focus and practise, mindfulness can even be an everyday, informal type of meditation. You can practice it while queuing for the bus, or brushing your teeth.
So choosing a yoga class with a focus on staying present over justexercising might increase your mood boost.
How much mindfulness does research show you need?
Is mindfulness like yoga? Do you benefit no matter how much time you practise, and what ‘dose’ you use? Or do you need to start a committed mindfulness meditation practice to really see results? Studies from this angle are still rare.
But a 2017 study from Spain’s San Jorge Universitydid examine the effects of different durations of mindfulness therapy. And it came to the conclusion that initial gains from mindfulness could be made relatively fast.
In the study, one group of 45 people was put on an eight-week mindfulness program, while another group of 45 people received an abbreviated four-week version. Both groups were followed up with after six months.
The positive effects of the longer program on depression, anxiety and other conditions were only slightly stronger than those of the shorter mindfulness intervention.
After an initial boost in mood and depression symptoms, the long-term effect continued to be cumulatively positive, but the upward slope appeared to become more gradual.
As for the ‘dosing’ of mindfulness interventions? How many times a day and for how many minutes each time you ideally need to practice mindfulness?
Want to share your experience about using yoga for depression? Use the comment box below.
Anne Freier is a medical and science writer. She has an MRes in Biomedical Research and a MSc in Neuroscience & Neuropsychology.
Scott, Tammy et al. Psychological Function, Iyengar Yoga, and Coherent Breathing A Randomized Controlled Dosing Study. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 2019 DOI: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000435
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