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Yoga Helps in Fixing Irregular Heartbeat

Update Date: Jan 31, 2013 04:26 AM EST

Including yoga in daily physical activities along with a healthy lifestyle can help people manage irregular heartbeats, says a new study.

Atrial fibrillation is a common type of arrhythmia which is a problem with the rate of rhythm of the heartbeat. Although medications are prescribed for the condition, they don't always treat the condition completely, which is why living a healthy lifestyle is important for these people. The two major complications of AF are stroke and heart failure.

Atrial fibrillation feels like a fluttering in the chest. Many people describe the condition as a "quivering heart". An estimated 2.7 million people living in the U.S. have the condition, says the American Heart Association.

"Yoga could be a beneficial treatment for people with atrial fibrillation. Obviously they should talk to their doctor before they start a program," said W. Todd Cade, a physical therapy researcher from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis., reports Reuters Health. Cade wasn't involved in the new research.

Yoga is very popular in the U.S., with about 6 million reporting to have practiced yoga in the past 12 months, according to a survey. Hatha yoga is the most commonly practiced form of yoga in the U.S. and Europe.

The study was based on data obtained from a small group of 49 participants. Researchers found that adding yoga to their daily activities improved the symptoms of atrial fibrillation. However, there was no control group to account for other factors that may have had an effect on the study results.

"More research is needed, but these findings are very promising," said Goldberg, medical director of the Center for Women's Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, reports HealthDay. Goldberg added that people need to be aware that there are many schools of yoga and that some can be dangerous for people with heart problems.

A recent study found yoga to be beneficial in helping people cope with depression, ADHD and other mental disorders.

The study was led by Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, a cardiologist at the University of Kansas Hospital and Medical Center in Kansas City, and is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

People should always talk to their doctors before beginning yoga, especially if on medication for heart problems or glaucoma. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more information about yoga. 

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