Yoga therapy: An overview of key research and the underlying mechanisms

Eileen M. Lafer, Margaret McCuiston, Ann Swanson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews the evidence supporting the efficacy of yoga therapy for wellness, and as an adjunct to standard care for a number of chronic conditions. The underlying mechanisms are explored, including the physiological and biochemical changes that have been observed in yoga practitioners. Yoga has been found to activate the relaxation response-a physiological state which reduces stress on bodily systems. Yoga leads to changes in gene expression, including decreases in the expression of genes involved in stress and inflammation. The positive effects of yoga therapy are interpreted through the lens of the biopsychosocial-spiritual model, which cultivates eudaimonic well-being and salutogenesis. Researchers attribute a wide range of yoga's therapeutic benefits largely to its whole-person approach to well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Evidence-Based Perspectives on the Psychophysiology of Yoga and Its Applications
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781799832553
ISBN (Print)1799832546, 9781799832546
StatePublished - Aug 28 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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