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Dr. Maren Nyer is the Director of Yoga Studies and the Associate Director of the Research Coordinator Program at the Depression Clinical and Research Program (DCRP), Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). She is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Her research interests include the treatment of mood disorders and associated symptoms, specifically developing and evaluating innovative and complementary and integrative treatments for depression. She completed her pre-doctoral psychology internship at MGH/HMS. After that, she worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the DCRP, until obtaining a staff position in September, 2012. She holds a BA in Psychology from Cornell University and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia.
Click here to view Dr. Nyer’s research.
She was the principal investigator for the clinical trial on how hot yoga may reduce depression, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Here's what Nyer said about the study: This study was a more rigorous follow up to an original, open study that we did with heated yoga. The results suggested antidepressant benefit, so the next step was to do a controlled study with a larger patient sample. We recruited 80 patients with depression, and randomly assigned half of them to heated yoga (which they could attend at any of two affiliated yoga studios that collaborated with our team) and the other half to a waiting list as a control intervention, both for 8 weeks. Patients were encouraged to attend at least twice weekly or more, depending on their schedule and availability of classes. We found that people who received the heated yoga intervention experienced a significantly greater improvement in depressive symptoms, compared to the patients who were assigned to the waiting list. They received these benefits attending only approximately one class per week.