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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