Restorative Yoga Vs. Stretching on Stress in People with Metabolic Syndrome

What’s This Research About?

Researchers wanted to see if restorative yoga was effective at increasing the relaxation response enough to reduce stress, decrease cortisol, and improve psychosocial outcomes. They compare the effects of restorative yoga to stretching. It’s tempting to assume that restorative yoga would have a greater impact on stress levels. 

About The Author


Jenn Pilotti

TITLE: Effect of restorative yoga vs. stretching on diurnal cortisol dynamics and psychosocial outcomes in individuals with the metabolic syndrome: the PRYSMS randomized controlled trial


PUBLICATION: Psychoneuroendocrinology

DATE: November 2014

AUTHORS : Sarah M. Corey PhD, Elissa Epel PhD, Michael Schembri BS, Sarah B. Pawlowsky DPT, Roger J. Cole PhD, Maria Rosario G. Araneta PhD, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor MD, and Alka M. Kanaya MD

Autonomic nervous system (ANS): The branch of the nervous system not under conscious control, including breathing, heart rate, and digestion.

Cardiac vagal tone: The activity of the vagus nerve, a key component of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, and its influence on heart rate.

Cortisol: aka hydrocortisone. A glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal glands that is involved in metabolic processes, immune functions, and suppressing the inflammatory response. It becomes elevated in the blood during physical or psychological stress.

Dexamethasone: a synthetic corticosteroid, used as an anti-inflammatory.

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis: The interaction of the hypothalamus gland, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland, and their influence on stress, digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, and energy storage and expenditure.

Metabolic syndrome: Clustering of metabolic changes including abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.

Psychosocial: related to social factors and individual thoughts and behaviors.

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By |2017-11-03T07:36:13-04:00September 19th, 2017|Conditions, Stretching, Yoga Methods|3 Comments

About the Author:

Jenn Pilotti has a BS in exercise physiology from UC Davis. After graduating in 2002, she was hired by the Beach and Tennis Club at Pebble Beach as a full time personal trainer. While there, she had the privilege of working with individuals of all ages, many of whom had aches and pains from a life well led. This piqued her interest in injuries, prevention, and pain. After years of undirected self study (and after leaving the security of a full time position to go out on her own), she enrolled in an online program through AT Still University, eventually acquiring a master's in human movement while working full time. After graduating, she continued to read research and write about its application to her work with clients. She fell in love with yoga in 2004, finally became 200 hour RYT in 2014 after years of workshops and self study (there seems to a theme), and continues to study somatic disciplines. She is DNS exercise trainer certified, FRCms, MovNat level I certified, GMB trainer certified, has taken PRI respiration, myokinematics, impingement and instability, and pelvis restoration, and has read an embarrassing number of books on movement, psychology, and wellness. She has an insatiable curiosity about what makes for a healthy person, physically and mentally, and she finds herself often asking why things work for some and not for others. She strongly believes in the power of knowledge and the power of movement. Learn more about Jenn Pilotti.

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