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Tiffany M. Field, PhD, is the director of the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine and Fielding Graduate University. She is recipient of the American Psychological Association Distinguished Young Scientist Award and has had a Research Scientist Award from the NIH for her research career. She is the author of Infancy, The Amazing Infant, Children A to Z, Adolescents A to Z, Heartbreak, Advances in Touch, Touch Therapy, Massage Therapy Research, and Complementary and Alternative Therapies, the editor of a series of volumes on High-Risk Infants, and on Stress & Coping, and the author of over 450 journal papers.
This book is a review of recent literature on yoga research. First, the review covers the physiological effects of yoga on heartrate and blood pressure followed by the physical effects on balance and flexibility, muscle strength, weight loss and sexual function. Psychological problems that are affected by yoga are then summarized including anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder and depression, as well as physical conditions including pain syndromes, cardiovascular, autoimmune and immune conditions. Finally, separate sections are devoted to yoga effects on pregnancy, children and adolescents and the aging. Potential underlying mechanisms are proposed including the stimulation of pressure receptors leading to enhanced vagal activity and reduced cortisol. The reduction in that stress hormone may, in turn, contribute to several positive effects including enhanced immune function and lower prematurity rates.