Temperatures Rise, Depression Falls

Can depression be MELTED away??

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Depression is a widespread, global disability. Yet many patients don’t have access or even respond to antidepressant medications. Holistic alternatives such as yoga and meditation have been explored, though not proven groundbreaking. But how about combining these approaches with biology?

Maren Nyer and team at Massachusetts General Hospital thought to treat depression…with heat!

Elevated body temperature has previously shown antidepressant effects, so the team combined yoga and heat. They asked patients to attend two heated yoga sessions per week for eight weeks. After, they rated any changes to the patient’s depressive symptoms since starting heated yoga.

Results? TWO THIRDS of patients saw their depressive symptoms fall by ALMOST SIXTY PERCENT after heated yoga. This was compared to waitlisted study participants who didn’t attend any sessions. Even attending JUST ONE session per week reduced the severity of symptoms!

Now let’s practice the warrior’s pose – in front of the space heater!

Reference: Nyer, M.B., et al. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Community-Delivered Heated Hatha Yoga for Moderate-to-Severe Depression. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 84, 22m14621 (2023).
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