Yoga to Reduce the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

Submitted by Bonnie Sedan on March 19, 2013

Atrial fibrillation is one of the common forms of arrhythmia - a condition where the heartbeat has an irregular rhythm. It may be too fast or too slow, but it is not normal. According to an article published in the European Heart Journal, in about 75% of the cases, atrial fibrillation is most often associated with any type of heart disease and includes cerebrovascular complications. The prevalence of atrial fibrillation increases with the advancement in age.


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Yoga to reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation

The treatment options for atrial fibrillation include medical prescriptions, medical procedures, and lifestyle changes. The physician decides the type of treatment on the basis of the condition and symptoms of the patient. Researchers also consider yoga as one of the most effective techniques to reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation and to manage the condition.

Yoga helps in improved blood circulation. According to a report published by The Journal of the American Medical Association, acute emotional stress may result in the irregular cardiac rhythm. Deep breathing techniques practiced in yoga can coordinate with the work that the sympathetic nervous system does, and also act as a stress buster.

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the atria, which are the top chambers of heart, develop an irregular rhythm due to the disorganization of the electrical signals. This, in turn, results in the irregular contraction and relaxation of the ventricles, which are the bottom chambers of the heart. Under normal functioning, an electrical signal is produced with each heartbeat, and the signal travels from the top to the bottom of the heart, thereby causing the contraction of heart. With each beat of the heart, an electrical signal is produced and the process continues. The electrical signals usually originate in the sinus node (SA node). However, in atrial fibrillation, the signals do not originate in the SA node. Instead, they develop from any other part of the atria or from the pulmonary veins, and thus take a disorganized pathway causing the fibrillation of the atria.

Yoga as a low cost treatment

Research suggests that yoga benefits the body in controlling the symptoms of atrial fibrillation. As a low cost treatment, yoga may be helpful in the following ways:

  • Lowers blood sugar, levels of cholesterol, and secretion of stress hormones, which are the prominent risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
  • Maintains blood pressure.
  • Improves breathing patterns.
  • Optimizes cardiac rehabilitation.

Yoga exercises for atrial fibrillation

Some yoga poses helpful in atrial fibrillation are

Please keep in mind that yoga is not a cure for atrial fibrillation. It can only be used as a complementary therapy to medical/allopathic treatment.

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