The ancient spiritual practice of yoga may help improve arthritis, according to a new study conducted at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
“There’s a real surge of interest in yoga as a complementary therapy, with one in 10 people in the United States now practising yoga to improve their health and fitness. Yoga may be especially suited to people with arthritis because it combines physical activity with potent stress management and relaxation techniques, and focuses on respecting limitations that can change from day to day,” explained Dr. Susan Bartlett, a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins and McGill University.
In the study, researchers divided 75 patients who suffered from either knee osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis into two separate groups: the group who would practise yoga, and the group who would not practise yoga. The patients from the yoga group had to attend two yoga classes per week, as well as doing a weekly session of yoga at home. During this time, all of the participants continued to take their usual medication.
After eight weeks, the physical function of the people in the yoga group increased by 20 percent, compared to the other group. Apart from the changes in the patients’ pain levels, their energy levels and mood also improved.
A study conducted in 2010 at Boston University, found that yoga wa indeed a huge mood booster. The research shows that the levels of anxiety for people who practise yoga on a regular basis, are significantly lower than for those who use walking as a form of exercise.
Before taking up a yoga class, people who suffer from arthritis should first consult with their doctor, advised the researchers at Johns Hopkins. According to Clifton Bingham, the director of the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Centre, those who suffer from arthritis should also take a class that is not too tough for them.
In the United Stated more that 52 million people suffer from arthritis. People who are diagnosed with arthritis should do 75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise per week or 150 mild aerobic exercise per week, advises the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC)
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