Doing yoga regularly may reduce the harmful effects of palpitations that potentially life threatening or known as an atrial fibrillation, a common cardiac arrhythmia which may lead to stroke.
In the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans, researchers revealed, three sessions of yoga a week can improve the quality of life, reduce anxiety and depression that can be harmful to patients with atrial fibrillation.
“The result of this study was interesting. Although it didn’t cure atrial fibrillation, but it seems to reduce its risks,” said Dr. Raul Mitrani, a director of cardiac rhythm device clinic at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
In prior study had shown other benefits of yoga for the heart such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and more elastic arteries. But this is the first study looking specifically at atrial fibrillation.
In this study, 49 patients aged 25-70 who had atrial fibrillation participated in a yoga program for 45 minutes, three times a week for three months. Sessions involved breathing exercises, various yoga positions, meditation and relaxation.
During the three months of yoga practice, participants experienced an average of 2.1 episodes of atrial fibrillation than the previous average of 3.8 episodes.
“Heart rate is automatically determined by physiological needs. We know that meditation and yoga really do provide some conscious altering of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, thereby reducing fear and anxiety,” noted Dr. Scott Shurmur, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
When a person feels anxious or fear would cause a sudden burst of adrenaline that triggers heart palpitations caused by decreased activity of the sympathetic nervous system.