By Martín Pérez
28.9% of Spaniards practice or have practiced yoga at some point in their life.
It is always said that yoga brings countless physical and mental benefits to its practitioners. However, it is difficult to quantify its footprint, its true consequences in real life. A work recently published in the scientific journal Plus One begins to give a certain dimension to the impact of this practice.
According to the article, people who use relaxation techniques (mainly yoga, but also others such as meditation or tai chi) drastically reduce, in relative terms, the number of their visits to medical services and hospitals.
The researchers analyzed the medical records of some 4,000 people who, in their treatments, had followed the recommendation of their doctor to resort to relaxation techniques and compared them with the reports of another 13,000 patients who had never used such practices. The important retrospective sample was carried out with patients from the Massachusetts General Hospital, in the Boston metropolitan area, between 2006 and 2014.
Analyzing demographic factors and different types of ailments, they concluded that those who resorted to relaxation therapies went 43% less to hospitals and demanded fewer health services, compared to the other members of the control group.
The explanation is simple. Although stress-related diseases are not usually fatal, their damage accumulates over time and those who suffer from these types of ailments - a common evil in the modern world go to medical centers with high frequency.
In fact, the study estimates that 70% of visits to doctors and hospitals are related, in one way or another, to situations related to stress, anxiety ...
The researchers themselves recognize that the report, an important step in the study of the impact of this type of practice, needs to continue to be deepened. Similar work will have to be done in other hospitals and in other countries.
However, it undoubtedly sends a very relevant message to the health authorities of any country in terms of public health and to the possible beneficiaries of these policies.