This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
A substantial amount of research has been conducted on the health benefits of yoga, and further studies are ongoing. In addition to improving the body's strength, flexibility, coordination, and range of motion, yoga has been shown to decrease blood pressure, slow respiratory rate, improve the fitness of the heart and other muscles, and reduce stress and anxiety.
Studies have shown yoga to be particularly helpful for musculoskeletal ailments: A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (http://jama.ama-assn.org/) in 1998 showed that yoga reduced pain and increased grip strength in people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Another study, published in the Journal of Rheumatology in 1994, showed that yoga reduced pain and increased range of motion in people with osteoarthritis of the hands.
Because it promotes relaxation, yoga also aids sleep and digestion. While yoga on its own is not a cure for any condition, it is often recommended as a complementary therapy for cancer, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, depression, fibromyalgia, and migraines. It can also be beneficial during pregnancy.