Changing the conversation about health

Hot yoga could help beat depression, new trial finds

Practising hot yoga regularly could help alleviate symptoms of depression, a new clinical trial has found.

Just one class a week in temperatures of 40.5C (105F) could be enough to have a positive impact on mental health, according to the results of the research.

An eight-week trial, led by Massachusetts General Hospital, split 80 participants into two groups, with one taking part in the 90-minute Hatha hot yoga sessions and the other group placed on a waiting list with no treatment.

In a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, results from an eight-week clinical trial found that symptoms of depression were relieved significantly after an average of two sessions of hot yoga a week (Image: Pixabay/Yoginforce)

Analysis of the findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Those taking part in the sessions were prescribed at least two classes a week, and attended an average of 10.3 classes during the eight-week period.

Those surveyed after participating in the hot yoga sessions said they’d seen a 50 per cent decrease in symptoms of depression – with 44 per cent of the group’s symptoms so significantly reduced they would be classed as in remission from the illness.

Recent Posts

College of Medicine Council Member Dr Catherine Zollman co-authors ‘landmark’ paper on the safe practice of acupuncture in integrative oncology

A new ‘landmark’ paper on the recommendations for the safe practice of acupuncture in integrative oncology has been released, following…

Read More →
Discussion Paper: Future Direction for the NHS – Reconnect, Revise, Restore

Dr Michael Dixon and Dr Sam Everington, Chair and Vice Chair respectively of The College of Medicine, have authored a…

Read More →
Dr Michael Dixon, Dr Fiona Butler and Mr Michael Dooley receive awards in King’s Birthday Honours list

Key members of The College of Medicine have received awards in the King’s Birthday Honours List. Our Chair, Dr Michael…

Read More →


Lead author of the study Maren Nyer, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said: “Yoga and heat-based interventions could potentially change the course of treatment for patients with depression by providing a non-medication-based approach with additional physical benefits as a bonus.

“We are developing new studies with the goal of determining the specific contributions of each element, heat and yoga, to the clinical effects we have observed in depression.”

David Mischoulon, a senior author of the study, added: “Future research is needed to compare heated to non-heated yoga for depression to explore whether heat has benefits over and above those of yoga… especially given the promising evidence for whole body hyperthermia [heating up] as a treatment for major depressive disorder.”