Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

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Background: This study was a systematic review of scientific evidence investigating yoga as a treatment for GAD. Assessing the scientific validity of alternative health practices is necessary for proposals of inclusion in public health practices.

Methods: A comprehensive search for peer-reviewed biomedical research was conducted for literature describing interventions for GAD using yoga and its practices (e.g. physical postures, meditation, breathing exercises). Systematic research was conducted on academic literature databases available through Wright State University (Web of Science, PubMed, Cochrane Library) using search terms selected based on key words for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition and the Sanskrit variation of yoga terms/names for different yoga styles (Anxiety OR anxious OR agoraphobia OR phobic disorder OR panic disorder AND meditation OR mindfulness-based stress reduction OR yoga OR yogic OR pranayama OR kriya OR Kundalini). Results: Three randomized control trials reported that yoga intervention resulted in statistically significant decreases in stress scores and stress biomarkers. Decreases in stress hormones and inflammatory cytokines are evidence of positive effect on comorbidities including heart disease. There was also lower anxiety recidivism in yoga groups compared to yoga group with medication.

Conclusions: Clinical trial study limitations include small sample sizes and a majority of white participants. Further research is necessary to provide more evidence describing the potential efficacy of yoga intervention for mental health conditions such as GAD.

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