A new study brings evidence that yoga practices can improve osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. According to CDC statistics, about 52 million people in the United States suffer from arthritis.
Yoga is a practice that involves your mind and body in a balanced mixture of complete relaxation and meditation, mostly achieved through breathing and stretching exercises. The study found that other than helping reducing anxiety and depression, yoga could be associated with a much larger number of health benefits. One study from last year proved that 90 seconds of yoga could fix the spine curvature of scoliosis patients. Moreover, another recent study found that yoga practices improve the health of patients suffering from breast cancer.
According to Susan Bartlett, yoga could be used as complementary therapy for about any medical condition. This form of therapy is becoming increasingly popular in the United States right now. As we speak, almost 10% of the American population is practicing yoga in order to improve their overall health. What professor Bartlett and her colleagues wanted to find out is whether yoga has any direct benefit for arthritis patients.
The study involved 75 adults suffering from arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis). The patients were assigned to participate in 1 hour long yoga sessions for eight weeks. These patients were also asked to perform yoga at home once in a while during this period. Two months after, it was found that they all experienced 22% improvement in their mood and energy levels, as well as less pain than before. The good news is that the improvements didn’t disappear after nine months.
The author of the study – Susan Bartlett, professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, along with a team of researchers published their findings in the Journal of Rheumatology.
Currently, there is no known cure for arthritis, but physiotherapists have long been suggesting that physical activity might alleviate some of the symptoms of the disease to a great extent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage arthritis sufferers to engage in aerobic practices for at least 2 hours every week. However, Bartlett and her colleagues found that about 90% of arthritis patients cannot perform aerobics, due to the pain and general stiffness caused by the condition.
Bartlett’s study found that yoga practices can be much more helpful to alleviating symptoms of arthritis than other physical activities, because it combines such activities with extremely effective muscle relaxation techniques. Yoga is one of the few practices that allows even arthritis patients to perform it well.
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