Recently scientists have begun to test yoga’s effect on numerous ailments and diseases, and the results have been pretty impressive.  Getting your om-on may help improve these five conditions.

It is common knowledge that yoga boosts relaxation and flexibility, but its benefits extend far beyond reaching a deep state of Zen and creating a bendy body. In fact, studies have shown yoga, in conjunction with traditional medical treatments, can help alleviate health symptoms for a number of diseases and conditions. While the mind-body practice can’t necessarily cure disease, practicing yoga can help make uncomfortable symptoms more tolerable. Here are five common health conditions yoga can help improve:

Type 2 Diabetes
Yoga can help to reduce BMI and improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetic patients, found a study published in the Diabetes Care journal. Researchers split 123 diabetics into two groups. For three months, one group took yoga classes in conjunction with standard medical interventions while the other group only received traditional care for their diabetes. The result? Patients who did yoga were better able to control their blood sugar, and also had a lower BMI at the end of the study. Although the difference in results were small, the findings are significant. (Try this ten minute yoga workout)

(More: Diabetes in Athletes)

High blood pressure
A study conducted by Yale University followed three groups of people who regularly partook in different types of relaxation practices: meditation, yoga and imagery. Of the three practices, yoga proved to be the most proficient in lowering blood pressure. Why? Yoga releases tension and stress in the chest through different stretches, which helps to lower high blood pressure. Yoga also helps keep blood circulating, sending more oxygen to the brain, and helping improve the condition.

HIV
According to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, when stressful events occur, HIV progresses at a faster rate. Taking a yoga class not only decreases stress, anxiety and fear, but can also decrease feelings of loneliness for those with the condition, especially when taking classes with others who are HIV positive. Yoga can also lessen the side effects of HIV medications and treatments, such as joint pain, fat redistribution disorders and digestive troubles.

Restless leg syndrome
According to the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, yoga helps patients with restless leg syndrome (RLS) sleep more soundly and also boosts their mood. The consistent breathing performed during yoga also helps promote feelings of calmness, warding off agitation brought on by RLS.

Multiple sclerosis
Yoga has tons of benefits for MS patients. Not only does it boost flexibility, but it also helps ward off fatigue. Since yoga involves stretching, it can help relieve muscle stiffness and spasms (common in those with the condition) which makes walking less strenuous. Yoga is also beneficial for MS patients because it doesn’t significantly raise body temperature like other forms of exercise. A high-body temperature can lead to muscle stiffness and weakness, which is hazardous for those with the condition. Those with MS should avoid hot yoga, which is typically done in a room between 95 and 100 degrees.

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