Yoga therapy for Schizophrenia

Int J Yoga. 2012 Jul;5(2):85-91. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.98212.

Abstract

Schizophrenia is one of the most severe mental disorders. Despite significant advances in pharmacotherapy, treatment remains sub-optimal, with many patients having persisting deficits, especially in cognitive and social functioning. Yoga as a therapy has proven to be effective as a sole or additional intervention in psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Recently, there has been significant interest in the application of yoga therapy in psychosis and schizophrenia. To review a) the evidence for the use of yoga therapy in patients with schizophrenia b) studies which have been done in this area, c) the barriers for reaching yoga to patients, and d) future directions, an English language literature search of PubMed/MEDLINE, Google Scholar, and EBSCO as well as grey literature was done. Research reports have demonstrated the feasibility and efficacy of yoga as an add-on therapy in schizophrenia, particularly in improving negative symptomatology and social cognition. However, the biological underpinnings of this effect remain unclear, although there are some indications that hormones like oxytocin may contribute to the changes in social cognition.

Keywords: Schizophrenia; social cognition; yoga therapy.