A recent study has suggested that yoga improves arthritis symptoms and mood, offering relief for some of the millions of people who suffer from aching joints.
The randomized trial of people with two common forms of arthritis has found that yoga can be safe and effective for people with arthritis. Johns Hopkins researchers report that 8 weeks of yoga classes improved the physical and mental wellbeing of people with two common forms of arthritis, knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
There’s a real surge of interest in yoga as a complementary therapy, with 1 in 10 people in the U.S. now practicing yoga to improve their health and fitness, says researcher Susan J. Bartlett, adding that yoga may be especially well 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.
Arthritis, the leading cause of disability, affects 1 in 5 adults, most of whom are under 65 years of age. Without proper management, arthritis affects not only mobility, but also overall health and well-being, participation in valued activities, and quality of life. There is no cure for arthritis, but one important way to manage arthritis is to remain active.
Yet up to 90 percent of people with arthritis are less active than public health guidelines suggest, perhaps due to arthritis symptoms such as pain and stiffness, but also because they are unsure of how best to remain active.
The researchers have developed a checklist to make it easier for doctors to safely recommend yoga to their patients, researcher Clifton O. Bingham says, suggesting that people with arthritis who are considering yoga should talk with their doctors about which specific joints are of concern, and about modifications to poses.
The study is published in the Journal of Rheumatology.