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Yoga Superior to Stress Education for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

But yoga not as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy, which should remain first-line treatment

woman doing yoga

TUESDAY, Aug. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Yoga is effective for treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) remains more effective, according to a study published online Aug. 12 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Naomi M. Simon, M.D., from New York University in New York City, and colleagues randomly assigned participants (mean age, 33.4 years; 69.9 percent female) to either Kundalini yoga (93 participants) or CBT (90 participants) to compare their effectiveness in treating GAD compared to a control condition (stress education; 43 participants). Posttreatment assessments were completed by 155 participants.

The researchers found that response rates were higher in the Kundalini yoga group versus the stress education group (54.2 versus 33.0 percent; odds ratio, 2.46; number needed to treat, 4.59). Similarly, response rates were higher for the CBT group versus the stress education group (70.8 versus 33.0 percent; odds ratio, 5.00; number needed to treat, 2.62). However, Kundalini yoga was not as effective as CBT in a noninferiority analysis (difference, 16.6 percent; P = 0.42 for noninferiority).

"Kundalini yoga was efficacious for GAD, but the results support CBT remaining first-line treatment," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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