Yoga could play a role in fighting depression - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Yoga could play a role in fighting depression

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As diabetes and heart disease take more people out of West Virginia's workforce, it can result in many people fighting depression.

"Some illnesses just like diabetes, just as like it affects the heart, affects the liver, it also affects the brain. It can cause depression, anxiety and mental illness in general," said Dr. Hani Nazha, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Behavior Sciences at WVU of CAMC.

And along with the medical issues, the loss of income and self-worth can cause a victim's depression to spiral.

No matter what the reason, treatment can be effective with medication but some want to avoid the side effects - such as weight gain and insomnia.

Now yoga is gaining recognition as a sustainable treatment for mental illness.

Studies show different types of yoga can help treat depression and anxiety through an improved sense of the body. A new emerging area of yoga treatment is interoception, which focuses on mindfulness of the body.

"My real desire is to help this area heal and we haven't always had the information or the resources available for healing on very deep levels," said Emily Jones, Owner of Lifespring Yoga in Charleston, WV.

Instructors at Lifespring installed heated infrared panels in the ceiling to help treat season depression through comforting temperatures.

Dr. Nazha says it is not about choosing yoga over medication; you should use them in tandem in the healing process.

"Symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety, stress -- they want to use yoga, they want to use exercise - that's perfect fine. But if we diagnose mental illness we need to prevent the severe consequences and that with medication," he said.

Dr Nazha admits there's a lack of research on the cumulative effects of yoga and medicine -- but says his practical experience combining the two leads him to prescribe both.

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